Risk Teaching: Reflections from Inside and Outside the Classroom (250 pp, $13.95, ISBN: 978-1-60381-106-4), by Peter G. Beidler, is a retrospective of an award-winning college professor’s teaching career. Both students and teachers can learn from its valuable insights.
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“Strongly worth considering for any teacher who often finds themselves overwhelmed by their profession, Risk Teaching is a solid and choice pick, not to be overlooked.”
–The Midwest Book Review/Small Press Bookwatch
“Pete’s creative teaching, probing questions, and passionate stories about teaching have inspired me and Lilly conference-goers for over twenty years,” writes Milton D. Cox, director of the Lilly Conference on College Teaching and editor-in-chief of the Journal on Excellence in College Teaching. “Peter has changed my way of teaching and that of so many others.”
Must we always teach from the inside of a classroom? Do periodic exams encourage learning as well as daily quizzes do? Do you schedule individual conferences with each student at the start of the term? Is lecturing an effective way to teach? If a student falls in love with you—or vice versa—are you doing something right or something wrong? If you have a pedagogical idea that will probably fail, should you try it anyhow? How do we know when it is time to retire from a profession we love? Such questions may make readers uncomfortable, but they may also lead them to change the way they think about the profession. Teachers may reconsider their methods, causing students to reconsider their attitudes.
In choosing the title Risk Teaching, Peter G. Beidler hopes to convey multiple meanings of the word “risk.” “Risk” the verb, as in “take a chance on an amazing profession.” “Risk” the adjective, as in “risky”—teaching that diverges from the safe and traditional path. “Risk” the noun, as in “teach students to take risks” and learn outside their comfort zones. Beidler’s book, like his teaching, is saucy, innovative, and challenging.
“I wanted to challenge teachers to listen to their wild whispers,” Beidler says, “to encourage them to walk away from the safety of traditional pedagogies. I wanted to jolt them into fighting boredom—their own and their students’—by taking risks. Learning should be a barefoot trek in the jungle, not a cruise in the Caribbean.”
PETER G. BEIDLER recently retired from Lehigh University as the Lucy G. Moses Distinguished Professor of English. Widely published in both British and American literature, he has won a number of teaching awards. In 1981 he was named National Professor of the Year by the Council on Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation.
Risk Teaching is available in Kindle ($6.95) and 6×9 trade paperback editions on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr and Amazon Japan. Bookstores and libraries can order through firstname.lastname@example.org, Ingram, and Baker & Taylor. Other eBook editions can be purchased on Smashwords, Google Ebooks, BN.com and all major eBook retailers.