Teaching Support Group Update by Kendra Barber

UMD sociology community:

Many of you have received my emails this semester about the teaching group meetings.  Below are some frequently asked questions I’ve been asked about our teaching support group.  I hope to see all of you at our first meeting in the Fall.  Also, if you still have any questions, feel free to send me an email at khbarber@umd.edu.



What is the “teaching group”?  I started this teaching group in 2011 with the intention of facilitating conversations between people teaching topics related to race, class, gender, sexuality, etc. Teaching these topics isn’t easy and we each have knowledge and resources that others can benefit from.

What happens during the meetings?  During meetings we talk about current issues anyone may be facing in their classes or a discussion topic that I come in with. Previously we have discussed the complexity involved in teaching about issues that you embody, strategies for teaching classism to students who aren’t used to talking about class, and how to keep students engaged when they are challenged by class topics.

How often do you meet?  Once a month for about an hour. But if you have another commitment feel free to stop by and leave early. It’s very informal! Emails announcing the next meetings are usually sent a week in advance and the day of.

Do I need to be teaching a class in order to come?  Not at all! The group is open to anyone and everyone who is currently teaching or anticipates teaching in the future.

How is this different from Dr. Moghadam’s teaching assistants’ seminar?  While we sometimes give general advice about teaching, such as where to get videos for your class or syllabus construction, the focus of the group isn’t to introduce first time teaching resources. Instead we focus on pedagogy.

Is it restricted to sociology instructors?  No! Please invite friends in other departments who teach or anticipate teaching courses related to race, class, gender, sexuality, etc. Past meeting attendees have been instructors in Sociology and Women’s Studies.

Kendra is a fifth year PhD student. 

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