Subject to Enthusiasm

Teachers & Teaching: Part II

On every university campus, there exist certain professors who, at the very mention of their names, cause students to cringe with fear. At the University of Tennessee, Dr. Von Trapp* was one of these professors. Students who had survived his Western Civilization class told tales about him to other students much like the ones Marines tell of Parris Island: “I’ve been through Von Trapp’s Western Civ. class. It doesn’t get much worse than that.”

Continue reading “Subject to Enthusiasm”

Teachers & Teaching: A Definition

To begin our perusal of teachers, teaching, and the learning process, it is necessary to first establish some terminology for discussion. After all, the idea of teaching means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Using the “Googlism” tool, we find that Google says:

  • teaching is as much about passion as it is about reason
  • teaching is a work of heart
  • teaching is not a brassiere
  • teaching is teaching is teaching
  • teaching is a full time profession in quebec
  • teaching is better than bossing

Got it? Well, maybe not. How about this: The American HeritageĀ® Dictionary says that to teach is “To impart knowledge or skill to.”

We’re getting closer, but there is still a crucial element lacking. The definition from which I will be working encompasses the lexical meaning, but completes it by giving it an object:

Teaching is communicating knowledge of a subject to a person or persons.

That should be enough to get us started in our discussion. Have I missed anything?

Next week: Subject to Enthusiasm

This post is part of the Teachers & Teaching series, which can be found listed in its entirety here.