Integrating Research Into the Classroom

big-headed-jewish-professorThe question of research integration into the classroom is a popular/important one in many job searches today. The CHE had a thread on integrating research into the classroom recently that had several good points.

Polly_Mer asked some good questions.

Is the only thing you do integration of research into your classroom is through selection of syllabi topics or do you share your published papers? Do you share work in progress? Do you share the major theories in the field in a way that is different from the standard texts? Do you use seminars to have students help bounce ideas around? Do you bring in conflicting, cutting-edge papers for students to critique or otherwise work on the cutting-edge for a handful of topics? Do you bring in non-scholarly articles from the popular media that cover your area either correctly or incorrectly for discussion? Is any of your research on pedagogy of your field? Or are you completely mum in all ways about your research because teaching is teaching and research is research?

What could you do with an undergraduate research assistant or as an advisor on a senior/honor thesis? Would taking those students on a trip to an archive and then co-authoring a paper be reasonable? How about maintaining a wiki on your area or otherwise contributing to electronic media? What about doing outreach to the public and the K-12 local schools? Judging at low level research seminars like the Junior Science and Humanities Symposia? Photocopying your papers (don’t mention this one even if it is the only one you can see working)?

In response to the original poster’s (OP’s) query about the question “How do you integrate your research into the classroom?” Marlborough said:

This is also a question about how your expertise plays to a non-specialist audience and how well you can explain it. Good answers include

“Doing this research involved a lot of work with material objects. Now, when I teach research methods, I include examples students might not have thought about, like clothing or grafitti.”

A good general theme–“My dissertation is about the implementation of a government policy on the periphery of its authority. I’ve learned that what is said at the top is not always how it plays out on the ground–and I tend to bring that question to a lot of the situations we encounter.”

“I am always working on something, and I find that sharing the process with students as I go along helps them to understand that we encounter the same frustrations and successes when we work on this field. I tell them about going to the archive, or checking notes, or translation work, or a bad day when I didn’t find anything useful in some books I thought were going to have what I wanted.”

The OP said:

I have had students work on translations of poems, with annotations. Maybe it would be good to try to publish something like that collectively with the students, as a thematic anthology of poems, or example, in which we could collaborate in the translations and introduction.

and Merce replied:

You could take a text already in the public domain and do a crowd-sourced translation with all your kids and publish through a website with images, translations, helpful bio or dictionary historical info links.

This might be something interesting that could be put together for English. Not the translations, obviously, but having students do multiple readings of one poem and do annotations, so that multiple voices about the poem are coming through. That might be really interesting.

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