Drive-Thru Pedagogy Blog

Pick up something practical.

Embrace Doubt, Enhance Teaching

February 14, 2022 • Adam Barger, Ph.D.

The start of a new semester is a great time to examine your teaching practices. However, the temptation to fall back on what worked in the past represents both the need for efficiency and the power of habit. What if we approached our teaching with a healthy sense of doubt? What if we embraced our own cycles of learning as a pathway to refreshed teaching approaches?

I recently kicked off my COLL 150 course Digital Fluency: Footprints and Philosophies with a reading from tech skeptic Nicholas Carr. In it, Carr claims, “the computer screen bulldozes our doubts with its bounties and conveniences” (p. 4). Regarding teaching and learning, the massive amount of information available to us can be overwhelming and even contradictory. We are susceptible to overconfidence, inflexibility, and maybe a few habits that need to be unlearned.

Enter Drive-Thru Pedagogy (DTP), the practical and punchy teaching blog from the Studio for Teaching & Learning Innovation (STLI). As we enter our second year of making teaching practical and powerful, we affirm our commitment to bite-sized teaching tips, innovative approaches, and diverse perspectives. In our first year, we welcomed posts from within the William & Mary community as a way to share our experiences with a larger audience. In our second year, we aim to expand our reach and welcome submissions from colleagues across the Commonwealth and beyond.

To help us accomplish these goals, we are grateful for the ongoing support from STLI and the DTP editorial team. We welcome Dr. Diana Theisinger as our new assistant editor; Amber Donnelly and I continue our work as Associate Editor and Editor, respectively. Together we will do our best to keep the teaching tips and practical applications coming.

So, what can you do to embrace a little more doubt in your teaching practices? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

• Know your network.
Identify a professional or personal learning network of colleagues and resources that keep you connected.
• Start small, but start today.
Consider micro-changes to your teaching practices that can inform your craft. Attendance strategies, formative assessments, and engagement routines are all areas to explore in relative safety without crashing a class session!
• Consult the research.
William & Mary has access to a rich collection of teaching and learning research within most disciplines. Collectively known as the scholarship of teaching and learning, this research base is filled with the work of your disciplinary colleagues.

Of course, I encourage you to stay plugged in with STLI and DTP as well. We encourage you to stop by often and pick up something practical.

Thanks for being a part of my own learning. I have no *doubt* I will be a better teacher because of you.

© 2022 Adam Barger. The text of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License.

Meet the Author

Adam Barger, Ph.D.

Associate Director for Academic Innovation & Digital Learning

Adam oversees the studio’s digital teaching and learning programs and collaborates with faculty and staff across campus to explore new and innovative teaching approaches and technologies. He equips faculty and campus partners with pedagogical and technological resources for their teaching and research goals.