Beyond "Coverage:" Teaching Discipinary Thinking in the Introductory Class: A History Case Study
Lendol Calder, Associate Professor, Augustana College and Carnegie Scholar, the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
Especially when teaching introductory courses, faculty find it incredibly frustrating to try to cover everything they know to be important, while students grumble that it is equally impossible to understand all the material teachers expect them to learn. But when subjects get "covered," what often gets "covered up" is disciplinary thinking, the crucial habits of mind used by practitioners of a discipline to create inquiries, construct knowledge, and provide warrants for what scholars claim to know.
What happens when a professor abandons "coverage," declares independence from textbooks, pares down lectures, and sets out to "uncover" for students the distinctive epistemology that makes the field a discipline for knowing? "Beyond Coverage" is a story about what can happen when an ordinary member of the faculty gets caught up in a new and exciting field of inquiry known as "the scholarship of teaching and learning." It is also an argument for an innovative way of teaching that replaces "coverage" with "uncoverage," illustrated with practical demonstrations of "uncoverage" in practice.
Comments from participants in Professor Calder's workshops at institutions such as the U. of Kansas, the U. of Michigan, and Baylor U., show that his presentations are warmly received:
The workshop generated new ideas.
Lendol Calder (Ph.D., 1993, University of Chicago) has been since 1999 a Scholar at the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL), researching how to teach historical thinking to novice students. The author of Financing the American Dream: A Cultural History of Consumer Credit (Princeton University Press, 1999) was hailed by the Wall Street Journal as "deliciously seditious" and has made him a popular authority in the national media on issues related to credit and debt.