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The Chalk Dust Collection: Thoughts and Reflections on teaching in Colleges and Universities, By Linc. Fisch

1996 [ISBN: 0-913507-69-5; 207 pages soft cover; 5.5-by-8.5-inch] $19.95

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CDCcoverArticles that for years have delighted readers of Linc. Fisch’s column in The Journal of Staff, Program, & Organization Development are now complied in a single source. The author’s unusual perspectives, ability to make connections, and highly readable, thought-provoking style have made these articles popular material for reprinting or excerpting in The Teaching Professorand faculty newsletters on many campuses. In his short essays, Fisch spans a broad range of topics: from the first day of class to cross-country trucking, from coaching to teaching calculus, from seven great truths of teaching to Mozart — and a multitude more of interest and value. According to Wilbert J. McKeachie, these essays “are the best combination of wit and wisdom in all of higher education!”

The Contents

Foreword by Wilbert J. McKeachie

  1. Coaching Mathematics and Other Academic Sports My colleagues in music, drama, and athletics did not just teach they coached. I learned many useful concepts about my instructional role from them.
  2. The Practice of Teaching Teaching is a profession, just as law and medicine are professions. Should we not, then, speak of ?the practice of teaching?” And should not we teachers actually engage in practice?
  3. Getting a Class to Jell Suddenly there comes a day when one is conscious that the wariness of strangers thrust together by the vagaries of registration has eased. Students and teacher begin to work together toward a common goal.
  4. The Case for Leaving Things Out Instead of trying to jam everything in, it might be better to focus on how much one dare leave out of instruction.
  5. Lesson of a Sierra Evening If a classroom is to become an environment that inspires students to good thoughts and good work, that will be the result of the effort of the teacher.
  6. Selling Scrap and Education My scrap-dealing cousin sells me a thing or two about teaching.
  7. The Legacy of Gus Mueller What a student taught a teacher about the first day of class.
  8. Students as Scrambled Eggs and Other Recipes for Teaching Cooking experiences stir up some recipes for savorous teaching.
  9. What Heisenberg Might Say about College Teaching We must deal with the uncertainty principle in teaching as well as in physics.
  10. Future Stuff for College Teaching Technology could enhance learning and reduce much of the drudgery of instructional activity. Will it displace live teachers?
  11. How to Grow Students Tending a garden requires sensitive monitoring and knowledgeable application; so do our interventions in the learning process.
  12. How to Prevent Students Can it be that things one does for students, with all good intentions, actually work against them?
  13. Truckin’ and Teachin’ Travelling twenty-five days and eight-thousand-some miles in an eighteen-wheeler produces some lessons that are worth sharing with others.
  14. If Football Were Played by Math Students When the coach called for volunteers from the student body, ten of my math students responded. I was pleased; I hoped that my students would introduce some rational problem solving to the gridiron. But I was surprised by the coach’s phone call three weeks later.
  15. Yet Another Voice on Educational Reform Alkschmeer’s Geographic Quotient is a little known concept, but it holds as much water as many solutions for school improvement which are currently being pushed.
  16. More Lessons of the Open Road The pursuit of dreams, experience as a foundation for education, and other ruminations while rolling down the interstate in an eighteen-wheeler.
  17. Milton’s Well-Point Average Simply add temperature, diastolic blood pressure, white cell count, and cholesterol level then divide by four to get an index that’s useful in a wide variety of interesting studies and medical decisions.
  18. Seven Principles of Teaching Seldom Taught in Grad School Some of the most practical teaching principles are acquired through experience.
  19. Mozart, Alabama, Big Rigs, and Teaching What connections are possible among vastly different worlds?
  20. Students Become Data Statistics Comes Alive Every teacher longs for ways to convince students early on that course material is useful, interesting, and capable of being mastered. Here’s a strategy for doing this in introductory statistics.
  21. Seven Qualities of Highly Effective Teachers By themselves, these seven qualities may not be sufficient criteria for teaching excellence but they may be pretty close to essential conditions.
  22. Thinking Otherwise It is entirely reasonable and appropriate for teachers to question whether our beliefs are consistent with the present state of knowledge of human behavior and whether these beliefs serve the growth and development of others.
  23. Second Thoughts on Timeworn Clichés The verbal shorthand of clichés often does us disservice. Good teaching requires the imaginative integration of many particulars, not the application of simplistic formulas.
  24. Confessions of a Closet Thespian Lessons learned from life upon the wicked stage can enhance teaching effectiveness even if you’re not quite ready for prime time.
  25. What Louis Szathmáry Might Say about College Teaching A master chef who is willing to share the secrets that ?make? his recipes would probably have a few tips for success in the classroom.
  26. There Is Life Beyond the Small Classroom How I stopped worrying and learned to love the mass lecture.
  27. The Secret Life of Professor This is what it’s all about, Mitty thought. Teaching really is a noble profession. It’s a chance to enrich students’ lives, an opportunity to affect eternity.
  28. Students on the Line Grading would be a lot less difficult if it were only a matter of numbers.
  29. Advice for New Teachers Will teaching become easier and easier with time and experience? Yes and No.
  30. Workshop Gleanings Reflecting on what has been gained in a workshop or classroom experience is a beneficial process for both participants and presenter.
  31. How One Teaches Speaks So Loudly Teachers might well examine the implications of classroom structure, methods, and behavior including the effect on what we teach and what students learn.
  32. Omnia Mutantur An unusual homecoming triggers some thoughts on change, growth, art, teaching, life, and courage.
  33. Questions for Teachers All too seldom do we turn important questions on ourselves, reflecting on them and discussing them with colleagues.
  34. Strategic Teaching: The Possible Dream By discovering our personal talents, strengths, and resources and applying them toward attainable goals, we can realize our fullest potential and become the teachers we really can be.
  35. Power in College Teaching Power appears in many guises. It ebbs and flows, seen or unseen, beneath most teacher-student relationships. It may serve teaching purposes well, but it also may erode the best-intentioned efforts.

The Author

Linc. Fisch has over 30 years’ experience in higher education. He taught undergraduate mathematics at Ohio University, Centre College, and Eastern Kentucky University. He held teaching and program development assignments in community dentistry and public health at the University of Michigan and the University of Kentucky, where he also initiated and conducted graduate courses in college teaching. His administrative assignments included serving as associate dean of students at Hiram College and the University of Akron. He has designed and written numerous film and video series to trigger discussion, and he has authored a monograph on that subject. He has been a frequent contributor to educational conferences, including the annual Lilly Conferences on College Teaching.

Fisch lives in Lexington, Kentucky. Since 1987, he has been engaged full-time in writing, conducting workshops for faculty, designing trigger films, and developing special educational projects.