Dealing with Discomfort in Classroom Discussions

Looking through the tags on Blogging Pedagogy earlier this semester, Rhiannon Goad’s lone post tagged “trans*” jumped out at me. In my experience, graduate students talk a lot amongst ourselves about uncomfortable, uncertain, or potentially hurtful situations we encounter in our classrooms, but we don’t often write about them or discuss them with our faculty mentors.

The Convenience of Teaching Difficult Texts

close-up photo of a doll with blue eyes

My classroom tends to feature a lot of group and class discussion. This semester's first novel was Salmon Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, a 576-page tome full of complex allusions to recent Indian politics, the foundation of Islam, and the Western literary canon. The second book is Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, a slim 216-page novel dealing with Jim Crow era America. Unexpectly, I'm finding that Rushdie, not Morrison, most encourages classroom discussion.

On Grammar Pedagogy; or, Stop: Grammar Time

Drive Slow Street Sign with "ly" marked in after "Slow"

Never before have I spent an entire class period talking about grammar, but I decided that this semester I would try it to see what my students thought about being taught grammar and being graded on grammar (the first of which I never do unless asked by a student for one-on-one help, the second which I only do if grammar severely impacts my ability to understand their papers). I had my students read three articles: Joseph Williams' "The Phenomenology of Error," (a selection from) David Foster Wallace's "Tense Present" a.k.a.


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