I'm an early career UK philosopher, and I'm extremely lucky to be taking up a TT position in the USA in August. My campaign for employment was greatly helped by reading the Smoker, so many thanks for that.I'm writing to ask for you and your readers' advice about some cultural differences in teaching practices, in the hope that a bit of crowd-sourcing can help me to adjust my teaching style to better serve my American students.Many of you may know that the way classes are taught in the UK is quite a bit different than in the US. Over here most courses involve a lecture component (usually two 50 minute lectures a week, all students present) and a student-centred discussion/tutorial component (usually one 50 minute session every week from week 3 onwards, with anywhere up to 20 students in each group).At my new school in the US, I'll be teaching two 75 minute sessions per week, both of them with all of the students present (with about 40-50 in each class). Now, I'm acutely aware of the need to keep things lively and dynamic. Talking at students for 75 solid minutes is bound to be pretty useless, pedagogically speaking, never mind deeply exhausting for me. I'm told and have often read that most people's attention spans are between 25 and 45 minutes, and that active learning and participation generally works a lot better than passive. So here's my basic question: how do you carve up those 150 minutes a week? How do you keep things active, lively and interesting with large groups and long classes?Don't get me wrong, I'm not entirely clueless, presumably one can break the class up into small groups for discussion (then have them report back), stage debates, give in-class tests or writing assignments, have a break half-way through, stop regularly for questions, etc. Is this all there is to it? Or do people have other innovative techniques for keeping students engaged and learning? Is there a particularly good way to structure long classes, to string together these sorts of techniques? And finally, are there perhaps any fellow Brits with experience of both countries who can advise me about adjusting to the US M.O.?I really appreciate any comments, even if it's to say that my question is somehow ill-founded - as a metaphysician, I'm more than accustomed to that sort of response.Thanks for your time and all your inspiring contributions to our profession.
There's no mention about whether these are undergrad or grad level classes.