Edited by John Ishiyama, William J. Miller and Eszter Simon
Chapter 36: Political science and the scholarship of teaching
In 2006, I was working with advanced undergraduates on a teaching collaboration (more details on this work are provided in Gutman et al. 2009). The students were working as quasi-teaching assistants in my introductory American Government course, facilitating student simulations of the legislative process. The students in the course were required to read and synthesize articles – from diverse genres, ideological positions and levels of quality – on pressing political issues. The students would write papers on these political issues, and then would engage in simulations in which they attempted to change (or beat back changes in) policy on these issues. One day, over breakfast with two of the facilitators, I asked them a simple question. Was I ‘better’ than our introductory level students at the tasks required to write the papers – reading material, synthesizing perspectives, and weighing the quality of methods and arguments? Yes, of course, my students replied. I am the professor, they are intro students who don’t know about these issues (or about political science). I clearly am better than them at the tasks required to do these papers.
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