A Guide to Teaching Effective Seminars provides college and university faculty with a new approach to thinking about their teaching and helps them develop a deeper understanding of conversation itself. Seminars often inspire collaborative learning and produce rich educational environments, yet even experienced faculty find these conversations can range in quality. A Guide to Teaching Effective Seminars addresses this challenge by presenting a sociolinguistic perspective on seminars and providing instructors with best practices to manage successful seminars. Grounded in research, data, and her own deep experience teaching seminars, author Susan Fiksdal reveals ways students negotiate perspectives on reading, on conversation, and on social identities and power. By giving readers an appreciation of the discourse of seminars, the book helps to undermine stereotypes about language and people, increase civility, reduce misunderstandings, and foster tolerance for new ideas and diverse ways of expressing them. This important resource is for faculty members at all levels of experience and in every discipline who want practical advice about facilitating effective seminars.
"If you have ever dreaded walking into a seminar room, this is the book for you. I spent more than twenty years training graduate students and lecturers to be more effective seminar leaders. I wish that I had had this book then—my task would have been a lot easier. This is a wonderful little book by an exceptionally accomplished teacher and researcher."
- Carolyn Martin Shaw, Professor Emerita, former Provost of Kresge College, and former Chair of the Anthropology Department, University of California, Santa Cruz
"Fiksdal harnesses all the conceptual, theoretical, and methodological power of sociolinguistics to produce an excellent practical guide for seminar facilitators. Readers will find the book extremely useful. It’s a rare book that combines utility with great intellectual depth and theoretical development."
- Douglas D. Roscoe, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of General Education, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
Chapter One: Introduction
Chapter Two: Moving from Lectures to Seminars
Chapter Three: Power and Ways of Talking
Chapter Four: Improvisation and Performance: The Importance of Timing
Chapter Five: Getting the Floor
Chapter Six: Performing Identities
Chapter Seven: Agreeing to Disagree
Chapter Eight: Cross-Cultural Dynamics
Chapter Nine: Electronically Speaking