Class Acts

It's impossible to dissect great teaching and explain exactly how it works. A fine mind and scholarly expertise are necessary, but surely not sufficient. Do superb teachers simply have a gift? Is effective teaching a function of personality or professionalism? Spontaneous brilliance or diligent preparation?

Kenyon students encounter great teaching every day, professors who challenge, engage, guide, and provoke. Who reveal layers of complexity beneath the surface of unexamined certainties. Who inspire the confidence to take intellectual risks.

How do they do it? We asked four Kenyon professors to share a few of their insights. All four are veterans in the art of getting the sparks to fly in young minds. Here they offer not overarching philosophies or definitive recipes, but reflections on how a classroom can come alive.

Making the Hard Sell

Deploying everything from rock music to blogs, Associate Professor of English Deborah Laycock shakes up her students' preconceptions about both eighteenth-century literature and Canadian culture.

Raising the Stakes

For Fred Baumann, the Harry M. Clor Professor of Political Science, political philosophy is inherently exciting. The trick is to get students to engage with Plato in a way that's not, well, platonic.

Dispelling the Student's Fear of the Ridiculous

Professor of Spanish Linda Metzler builds students' confidence and foreign-language proficiency through patience, sensitivity, and a large, flexible tool kit of teaching methods.

Touching Souls with Sound

Quizzes for the choir? Witty T-shirts in dress rehearsal? Whether he's working with the select Chamber Singers or the larger Community Choir, Professor of Music Benjamin Locke finds ways to inspire beautiful music.

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