A photo of overstuffed bookshelves in a used bookstore.

Citizen Scholar

After a long day of one meeting after another, I managed to make it to my primary voting location and cast my vote. No line, and the lady at the desk said that 500 (out of 2000 registered) in my precinct had cast their bcitizen scholarallots. That’s probably not too bad, considering the work day hadn’t ended for most people. (I was there at 4:00.)

There’s a lot of conversation in the Humanities right now about the need for public scholars, that is, people whose writing and research reach a broader audience than the 8% of the population with graduate degrees.

I’d be into that.

As a person who sits uncomfortably in that 8% (What do I need all these degrees for!?!), I’d like to imagine ways to make the kind of research I do relevant and accessible to the people I research, to the teenagers (about 15 million) and teachers (about 3 million) who spend the majority of their waking hours preparing for or going to public school and school-related activities. I was one of those teenagers and also one of those teachers. I am invested in the project of improving conditions for teaching and learning.

And I guess I’m blogging about it because even though people say to me that my experience and investment count for something in this business, I don’t often feel very much like they do. I’m trying to put my finger on why.




So here’s a video I made in case you are using WordPress Reader to follow the class blogs. It is less than a minute and a half, and it will show you how to add non-wordpress RSS feeds to your WordPress Reader.

It was easy and fun to make. Let me know if it actually helps. I’m interested in how people make these kinds of videos for “flipped” classrooms, and what that might look like in ELA classrooms. I like the idea of being on hand to help students work through their practice/implementation of what they learn in class, but I spent a good deal of time altering what I did in class in response to what students did/did not understand about the literary texts that we read, and I’m not sure that we wouldn’t lose something important by relegating instruction to a pre-recorded lecture. Something about the immediacy of ideas, maybe? Or maybe all that time I spent reading aloud to my classes could simply be podcasted or posted to youtube, and we could have class discussions that went beyond getting through the text together.