Midterm project

by Sean

I’m considering writing up a course proposal for a teaching practicum course for grad students in the Humanities and, maybe, the Social Sciences. My expertise doesn’t really extend much beyond those fields, so whatever I would have to say in other fields probably wouldn’t make much sense. 


From what I’ve seen, most of the pedagogy courses here are theory-based, which is understandable, but I think the utility is limited. I’ve started four pedagogy classes here (and finished only one), and what I’ve noticed is that the structure seems to be discussing theory for twelve weeks then spending the last three weeks coming up with some sort of project that can be used in a classroom. 

My issue with this is that assembling one project does not prepare someone for the classroom. If a prospective educator can’t write a decent syllabus or organize a class or develop a grading rubric, the project they’ve developed isn’t going to help much. 


I would structure the class with the following topics:

  1. Writing a syllabus
  2. Choosing appropriate texts for the class
  3. Setting up assignments
  4. Setting up grading rubrics
  5. Office hours and helping students
  6. Interacting with institutional policies
  7. Tech resources available. 


The biggest issue would be finding courses for the students to teach as a practicum. When I took a practicum class at the University of Illinois, everyone in the class taught a free course for the spouses of international graduate students. 

This worked there because many international students lived on or close to campus and, especially the incoming graduate students, their spouses still couldn’t work yet, or could only work on campus, so they had the time. 

I’m nor sure that there is an equivalent population at the Grad Center, and even if there was, that practicum worked for those of us entering the field of Teaching ESL. A practicum for those in the Humanities in general would be difficult to manage. 

I know that, at one point years ago, the GC had funding to do this sort of thing where grad students got classes on various campuses, but planning a course on the possibility of a teaching slot is an issue. 

One possible way to handle it is to set up the opening assignment as “You’re teaching a course in your field at a community college”, which means an intro level or second year course, and go from there. 

3 thoughts on “Midterm project

  1. Tuka Al-Sahlani

    I am all for practical skills in a pedagogy course! My question is would this be a digital humanities pedagogy course? Could this be a course offered by the TLC, maybe?

    1. Sean Patrick Palmer Post author

      The more I think about it, the more doing it through the TLC makes sense. The TLC does more hands on stuff, after all.

      It’s just… there are times in the pedagogy courses when I Think “These ideas would not fly at the level I teach.”

  2. Katina Rogers (she/her)

    Developing a teaching practicum is a great idea, Sean, and it’s definitely worth talking to the folks at the TLC about. For the purposes of this class, it would be great to see a rationale that reflects on how this addresses the thematic questions (power, precarity, and/or care), either as part of the framing for the practicum, or in a written reflection that accompanies it. Looking forward to seeing how this develops as you work on it.

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