Friday, September 26, 2008

Save the World on Your Own Time

I recently read "Save the World on Your Own Time" by Stanley Fish. It is a book about academic instruction and it was written for professors and upper-level administrators. I read this book for my job, and while it did not relate to much of what I do, it was helpful to have this insight on the debate about what college professors should be doing in the classroom.

The thesis of Fish's book is academics only have one job that they are trained and paid to do: to introduce students to disciplinary materials and equip them with the necessary analytic skills. Fish is arguing against instructors who use their classroom as a place to form political, religious, or other types of opinions. It is fine if students come away from a course with certain leanings, but a professor should never express her/his own opinions in the classroom and expect their students to follow suit. Hence the name of the book - save the world on your own time.

The book is a pretty dry read unless you are a college professor struggling with your pedagogy.


tony said...

I was thinking about this the other day.
I'm glad for the profs I've had who tried to "save us" w/ each class they taught. I am not them (my profs.), but I am who I am because of them.

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