Teaching is more than a job. It's a responsibility.

“Teaching is more than a job. It’s a responsibility—one of the greatest responsibilities in civilized society. Teachers lay bare the mysteries of the world to us. They train our minds to explore, to question, to investigate, to discover. They ensure that knowledge is not lost or forgotten but is instead passed on to future generations. And they shape our lives in limitless ways, both inside and outside of the classroom.”

So says Professor Patrick N. Allitt of Emory University and the lecturer on ‘The Art of Teaching: Best Practices from Master Educators’, a course from the Teaching Company. The Teaching Company has been running since 1990, based on the concept of finding the top 1% of college professors in the world selected entirely for their ability to teach (now there’s a thought) and using feedback from customers to help craft courses into formats uniquely designed for the lifelong learner. Over 10 million courses have been sold and they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee, “If a course is ever less than completely satisfying, you may exchange it for another of equal value at any time. You may also return any course, within one year of initial purchase, for a full refund.”  Shall we try that here?

I know I’m a bit sad but over the last few years as I walked to work along the seafront, I’ve gone through the following ‘Great Courses’ –

  • Origins of the Human Mind
  • How We Learn
  • Theories of Human Development
  • Story of Human Language
  • History of the English Language
  • Legacies of Great Economists
  • Economics
  • Understanding the Fundamentals of Music
  • Elements of Jazz: From Cakewalks to Fusion
  • History of Russia: From Peter the Great to Gorbachev

However, times are changing and what place does the Teaching Company have in this brave new world of MOOC and OER? (I have signed up for numerous MOOCs but sadly never completed any. Their time based nature means if you fall behind you’ve had it. Perhaps MOOCS are the new exercise bikes?) The Teaching Company are still here but do have a 70% sale on all of their courses at the moment. Hence my £29.99 investment in ‘The Art of Teaching: Best Practices from Master Educators’.  There are twenty six lectures each lasting around thirty minutes on topics including Teacher Student Relationships, Creativity and Innovation, Dynamic Lecturing and Maintaining Your Enthusiasm. There is also a course booklet with a summary of each lecture, a toolkit of tips for each topic and a bibliography. I get a DVD and online version of the lectures and they can be watched at any point in the future. So far so good but is it any good? Can I learn anything form this ‘course’? Will I make to the end? Does it matter? How does this slightly old skool approach match up in 2014? I bet you can’t wait to find out! I won’t fill up the SALT blog with my thoughts but I’m going to make notes as I go through and blog about it here http://inveniotech.blogspot.co.uk/

Wish me luck 🙂

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