This week in Ethnography, Heather E. Young-Leslie, Ph.D. describes how best to teach ethnography in the post entitled Sand in My Syllabus; Teaching Anthropology ‘Way Off Campus.
The anthropologist professor is not replaceable, not redundant. But the style of teaching anthropology that we have had since WWII… well, that is replaceable.
I start with the above quotation from the conclusion to give you a taste of the power of this piece. This article includes solid information for those of us trying to prove or improve our teaching craft. The title is derived from the following “gritty” quotation which further illustrates the author’s skill:
Sand makes you aware of things you normally take for granted. Sand may be something common to the ‘way off campus locations I’ve taught (and one of the on-campuses too), but it is also a great metaphor for the ‘way off campus pedagogical experience, indeed, for the ethnographic experience. Because in the same way that anthropology puts grit in our comfy stereotypes and cultural assumptions, once you start thinking about the requirements for teaching in non-university classrooms; such as to retirees on cruise ships, or to university students on away-from-home courses, the value of experience-near, and experience-rich learning opportunities abrades your usual ways of thinking about teaching. It puts sand in your syllabus.