Relevance of Research for Teaching

As the posts earlier this week emphasize, research in the Humanities and Social Sciences have improved our ability to analyze society and operate within it. Highlighting more examples of these contributions from Humanities and Social Science scholars is important in detailing the relevance of these fields today. However, another related benefit of research is its contribution to our teaching.

From my own experience, continuing to research makes my courses better. As I refine my ability to analyze the larger human society, I adjust the content and emphases in the courses that I teach to reflect those constantly refined concepts. My ongoing research also provides additional examples of rhetoric about identity claims that help to illustrate these points to my students. These new examples also keep my course material, and thus my presence in the classroom, fresher. If I repeat the same examples year after year, my own engagement with the material lessens, making my presentation stale.

Applying ongoing research to the classroom situation requires attention, both to the topics of research and to the continual revision of courses. The effort, in my experience, has been well worth it, and it enhances the relevance of both my teaching and research.