Dr. Nancy Chick, co-editor of Teaching & Learning Inquiry, has just edited a new book to introduce folks to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), the movement within higher education encouraging professors from across the disciplines to research their own teaching. The short, lively, conversational chapters in SoTL in Action: Illuminating Critical Moments of Practice, written by leading figures in the field, cover foundational concepts of SoLT research—what the perfect moment to launch an inquiry looks like, how to decide what research assumptions to operate on, how and why to conduct a literature review—as well as practical research methods—surveys, interviews, “think aloud” protocols, etc. In our conversation about the book, Nancy and I discussed how things in teaching aren’t always how they seem, how professors interested in researching their own teaching can get started, how conducting pedagogical research isn’t necessarily for every professor but reading it should be, how pursuing the study of teaching doesn’t have to mean leaving one’s original discipline behind, how conversations about teaching with trusted colleagues are often where real change happens in teaching, and how the work of editing can be an act of kindness. For anyone interested in examining their own teaching and their own students’ learning more rigorously and systematically, this informed, practical, and engaging book is the obvious first stop.
Disclaimer: Although I stand by my enthusiasm for this book, readers may want to know that Nancy and I are pals. She is one of the most encouraging people I know; I am glad to be able to return the favor.