The Scholarship of Teaching

“The Scholarship of Teaching.” Do we ever think about teaching in that way?

schol-ar-ship [ˈskɒləʃɪp] n.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as:

:: knowledge resulting from study and research in a particular field ::

The Collins English Dictionary defines is as:

:: academic achievement; erudition; learning ::

But the definition of ‘scholarship’ that made me think comes from the second definition found in the Merriam Webster dictionary:

:: the character, qualities, activity, or attainments of a scholar ::

Ok, so the definition from the Merriam Webster dictionary used the word to define the word, which is a big no-no, but its so obvious. Teachers are scholars, are they not? Just for fun I typed scholar in the thesaurus and it defined is as “person who is very involved in education and learning” and some of its synonyms were academic, critic, disciple, intellectual, learned person, learner, philosopher, professor, pupil, sage, student, and teacher.

So what is with this vocabulary lesson you may ask?

A teacher must always be a student first. It is impossible to teach without learning whether its the content or about who you are teaching. So really, when I read “The Scholarship of Teaching” the title is redundant and I hope that people are understanding what I am trying to convey with my lesson on words and vocabulary.

If not, let me simplify it and just say that everything Bender and Gray (1999) says about what teachers should be doing is spot on. I used Diigo to read through the article, highlight points, and make sticky notes and decided to share my notes to practice the notion of making things public (quick learner here). The only downfall is that my sticky notes do not show where they were placed.

On a more personal note about who I am as a teacher scholar…

I am the type of person who wants to do everything right. I always want to be better and I like to research. This is one trait that I really like about myself because it keeps me engaged. I enjoy reading up on new techniques and theories. I build on what I have and am constantly asking myself how that could have gone better. I am open with my students and I expect their feedback about the lessons I teach and ask them what I could do next time to make it better. I also enjoy collaborating with colleagues and asking them for help when I need it. I agree with Bender and Gray that teaching can at times feel like an isolated career but it shouldn’t be. Its easy to keep it an isolated career but what joy is that? I don’t ever want to become the “comfortable” teacher who uses the same thing term after term, year after year. The world is constantly changing, the students are constantly changing, and the content is constantly changing. Teaching cannot be stagnant.

Final point.

It kills me when I hear students complaining about how much they hate The Great Gatsby and To Kill a Mockingbird. These are classic books that teach great lessons. Teachers cannot expect to teach it in the same mundane fashion as they did when I was a student and when the books first came out. The

number one reason students hate these books is because they feel so disconnected from it.

What do the time periods of these  great novels mean for students today?

It doesn’t mean much by themselves. We need to create ways to grab the attention of our students, to make connections and correlations, show them that the setting and time period are minor details.

Research, explore, learn, and try to make everything come to life. Idealistic? I don’t think so. Why isn’t it an expectation or an obvious part of being a teacher?

Should be…

Bender, Eileen and Donald Gray. 1999. The Scholarship of Teaching, Research & Creative Activity (April 1999) XXII:1

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5 responses to “The Scholarship of Teaching

  1. Wow!
    1. Love the highlighting and sticky notes using Diigo. Thanks for sharing!
    2. Awesome use of graphics in your post. I’m getting ideas from you!
    3. Your vocabulary lesson was perfect. I agree; “Scholarship of Teaching” is redundant. Everything I found on the topic involved research projects and writing articles. Check out my post; my argument is that we don’t need to write articles on what we’re doing to be scholars. We’re being scholarly every day! I think you’d agree.
    4. “I don’t ever want to become the “comfortable” teacher who uses the same thing term after term, year after year.” I’m right there with you and one thing I’m loving about this class is that it’s already forcing me to think outside of what I’m already doing and change things. For example, my content connections; I’m changing the intro to a unit I thought was already pretty solid to work that in. A little risky, and definitely uncomfortable, but so important!
    Keep up the good work! 🙂

    • Thanks! I wanted to play around with Diigo to check out the affordances and constraints in my process of possibly integrating it with my students. I like it but certain browsers will not let you unhighlight something so if you accidentally highlight something, it stays highlighted forever…

      I read your post and definitely agree with you! Great minds sure do think alike, right? =)

      Risky is a good thing. Its good to challenge ourselves. I realized that if we don’t, no one else really will. Its up to us to better ourselves for our students. If we get lazy, not many will notice. But who wants to teach the same thing in the same way all the time, right? BORING!

  2. I love that you shared your highlighting and sticky notes via Diigo. I have never seen that website used before, and now I want to try it out. Also looking at your notes helped me to understand the article better. One of the important parts of teachers being scholars is that they share their work, because we can all benefit from learning from each other’s mistakes and successes. Having you as a part of my PLN has now taught me a new tool that I can use to increase my comprehension of the readings and helped me to better understand the article! Thanks for sharing!

    • It was my first time trying it out! I used it in my screencast for having students keep their research organized. I thought I would try it out myself. Thank you for letting me know that I helped you better understand the article. I love seeing our PLNs at work! One thing I am really excited to do with my students is to teach them about PLNs. I love it and find it as a means of helping me help my students and vice versa. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I also started looking up definitions once I finished the article! It really helped put things in perspective. I also thought to myself while reading, “I really wish I could highlight and take notes on this page.” I never knew Diigo could be used for that but will use it next time for sure. Thank you for sharing your notes and great ideas.

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