Teaching What You Don't Know
This is one of the best books I've read on university teaching and learning in a long time. It addresses an issue that's seldom discussed, in a book that's both carefully researched and wonderfully sparkling in style. The author makes a strong case that teaching outside your area of expertise is a serious and extensive problem, and she offers some highly practical advice about how to meet the challenges. I would make this book a standard text for both our new faculty program and
teaching fellows program, and I suspect that many other programs will want to do the same.
-- Ken Bain, author of What the Best College Teachers Do
Moving behind the reassuring public image of professorial expertise, Huston exposes a growing but still largely hidden academic reality: university teachers - sometimes even full professors - teaching outside of their field. Interviews with dozens of university faculty convincingly establish the prevalence of the practice and clarify the institutional reasons that it will likely increase in the years ahead. But many readers will quickly move past the analysis of why university faculty must teach outside their specialty to consider the helpful advice on how to do such teaching well. Anxious instructors learn here how to devise effective strategies for managing the classroom when exploring new material, for soliciting timely assistance from colleagues and students! and even for capitalizing on the unexpected advantages of teaching beyond one's knowledge. (Teachers who are only a step ahead of their students, for example, may be much better than seasoned classroom veterans at understanding
those students' difficulties in mastering new material or skills.)
It may surprise librarians how many teachers and administrators seek out this book.
-- Bryce Christensen, Booklist, August 2009