The Pocket Instructor: Literature is a collection of favorite undergraduate teaching exercises in the field of literary studies. Under contract with Princeton University Press, this book will feature exercises solicited from teachers around the country, offering ideas for how to create active, energizing, student-centered learning spaces at the collegiate level. Our specific objective is to give beginning teachers ways to teach literature more effectively, though veteran teachers may find The Pocket Instructor a useful pedagogical resource as well.
We are looking to you for exercises that have already been tested and refined in your own undergraduate classroom and that have been clear hits with your undergraduates, whether you are teaching at a small private college, a local community college, or a large state or private university. We have tentatively subtitled the volume "100 Surefire Exercises to Get Students Talking, Thinking, and Learning," and this approach epitomizes the pedagogical philosophy behind the volume: undergraduates often learn best when they learn from each other. Our focus is thus not on lectures but on student-centered exercises that have worked particularly well for you in a discussion section, seminar, class or workshop. We imagine The Pocket Instructor as not only a compendium of best practices in the classroom, but also a profession-wide resource for undergraduate classroom activities.
There are many useful teaching guides already in print that provide excellent pieces of general advice, including tips for leading discussion or ideas for organizing lesson plans, but they do not focus on what teachers, especially new teachers, often need most: a comprehensive set of discipline-specific exercises to use in the classroom. What we envision for this volume is thus something new--a collection of content-rich, adaptable classroom exercises, with enough options to satisfy any undergraduate instructor in the field of literature, across a range of genres, periods and languages. Exercises may be entirely classroom-based or involve a pre-class assignment.
While we are looking for exercises that can be easily adapted by other instructors, we are open to exercises that work particularly well with specifc authors, works, or sub-genres that are widely taught: for example, exercises geared specifically to Milton's Paradise Lost or Beckett's Waiting for Godot, or to ballads and sonnets, or to early slave narratives or epistolary novels.
To submit an exercise to the editors and the Press for review, we have provided a user-friendly submission link (Submit), some sample exercises (Models), a brief checklist of things to include (Guidelines), and a description of the navigational devices that will accompany each entry (Keys). The deadline for submissions is June 15, 2013, but naturally the earlier we receive your proposed contribution the better.
You can expect to hear from us regarding the status of your entry by September 2013. Unfortunately we will not be able to include every submission in the volume. In consultation with the Press, we will select final entries based on multiple criteria, including the type of exercise, the clarity of the exercise's goals and description, the adaptability of the exercise to a range of college and university classrooms, and how well the exercise fits with other entries in the volume.
We thank you for your interest, and we look forward to receiving your submission!
Diane Fuss and William Gleason (Princeton University), Editors