Dépêche de Klaeber Court: Prof. Judith Preckshot

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I asked Prof Judith Preckshot about what she's working on right now, and she told me about a fascinating and timely graduate seminar she's preparing for next semester:

Many of us struggle with balancing the competing demands of teaching and research, and in our attempts to do each to perfection on its own terms we sometimes lose sight of how they are so integrally related. For graduate students the stresses and strains are perhaps even greater because you are engaged in a dual apprenticeship, the one intellectual and academic, and the other pedagogical and practical. And your teaching is at the beginning and intermediate levels of language and culture, which doesn't often give you the opportunity to teach your research. With this on my mind, I am crafting a graduate course on francophone Caribbean and Sub-Saharan African literature (to be offered in Fall 2011) that will ask students to work at the intersection of scholarly research and teaching in ways that are hopefully both imaginative--in terms of imagining a future as a post-secondary instructor-- and very practical in that the material outcome would be a scholarly conference paper as well as a collaboratively compiled dossier of course materials and course syllabi. I see this as a kind of workshop in which we will all learn from each other, taking positions à tour de rôle as teachers and mentors, students and mentees, peer reviewers and reviewees.

Having learned so much from students I've mentored in past teaching projects, I'm very excited about the prospect of "teaching" a course in which everyone will also be a teacher, a mentor to someone and a producer of knowledge in the discipline. This format allows me to bring the mentoring process more visibly into the classroom and to conjoin the intellectual and the practical aspects of our discipline. I also want the experience to be immediately useful to students, hence the selection of texts from the MA reading list and the kinds of assignments that will enhance advanced students' professional development by preparing them for a job search or applications for teaching post-docs.

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