A Note from the Author
Geeky Pedagogy is an evidence-based, multidisciplinary, pragmatic, highly readable guide to the process of learning and relearning how to be an effective college teacher. It advances the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) by synthesizing a large amount of research into five easy-to-remember categories of pedagogical activity: awareness, preparation, reflection, support, and practice. These are not consecutive steps but rather a new conceptual model that offers readers a practical framework for drawing on and utilizing a wide range of proven best practices for continuing to build their knowledge about effective teaching and learning throughout their career.
This is the first college teaching guide that encourages college faculty to embrace their inner nerd and to view themselves and their teaching work in light of contemporary discourse that celebrates increasingly diverse geek culture. I argue that many people teaching college classes, including myself, are some combination of geek, introvert, and nerd (GIN), and that numerous aspects of effective teaching and learning are shaped by characteristics many professional intellectuals/GINS share. Aspects such as the need to understand our own expert blind spots when teaching novice learners; approaching teaching as an intellectually demanding endeavor; and practicing effective communication and social interaction skills.
I also stress that every individual’s unique teaching context shapes how any one college teacher enacts effective pedagogy and fosters student learning. I pay close attention to the myriad ways that employment status (contingent, tenure-track, tenured), campus culture, and identity—race, ethnicity, age, gender expression, socioeconomic class, sexual identity, and so on—shape teaching and learning. By emphasizing the reality of challenges facing each individual teacher in their unique teaching context, Geeky Pedagogy directly addresses a gap in SoTL, which too often neglects to consider all the ways that employment status and identity markers shape the implementation of pedagogical practices.
By positioning myself as a proud nerd, I create a sense of a shared undertaking with my readers. Most SoTL authors hope to invite readers to join “the teaching commons” and to enter into a broader scholarly conversation about teaching. Yet they often undermine this goal by handing down rigid dictates from on high about teaching, as if the person writing for teachers is not a teacher themselves and someone who also has to constantly learn and relearn effective pedagogy! In contrast, throughout Geeky Pedagogy, I deliberately refer to “us” and “we” when discussing college teaching. I share some of my own biggest teaching fails and hard-won accomplishments, and emphasize that we need not feel alone and isolated in our classroom struggles and triumphs.
Geeky Pedagogy fosters every reader’s self-efficacy and confidence in the classroom by portraying effective teaching as an achievable goal for anyone who wants to be an effective teacher, deliberately counteracting stereotypes about naturally gifted super teachers. One of the main reasons I wrote this book is because so many otherwise excellent SoTL books laud so many superlative teachers and detail such an overwhelming number of exemplar teaching techniques that instead of inspiring me as an educator, they leave me wondering if I should just give up on ever helping anyone learn anything. In contrast, Geeky Pedagogy seeks to inspire teaching self-efficacy and to that end, I portray effective teaching as something every educator can learn how to do and must keep relearning how to do throughout their career.
Click here to read Geeky Pedagogy’s Table of Contents.