Friday, November 29, 2013

The Five Dimensions of a History Professor: Believing

History professors believe that history is an important subject to learn. “What happens in the present, and what will happen in the future, is very much governed by what happened in the past,” (Marvick). They believe that the only sure way for history not to repeat itself is to closely study the events of the past. For example, in 2008, America came very close to slipping into another Great Depression. It was the combined efforts of economists’ and historians’ research on the first Great Depression that helped America avoid another one. Studying economic drops, wars, plagues, etc., can help avoid future events that are similar to those. History professors believe that the widespread knowledge of past events can keep civilization as a whole from repeating its mistakes and backtracking.

The Five Dimensions of a Discourse Community: Valuing

Valuing really applies to the methods of teaching that history professors have. They make an impact in the world by educating as efficiently as possible. They present the material as clearly as possible, and have attained an extensive body of knowledge throughout their years of study and research with which to answer students’ confused questions. Despite the fact that history is about everything in the past, history professors use updated forms of technology to communicate proficiently. With a perpetually changing world, it is important to keep up to date with new forms of technology, as each generation of students will be accustomed to different devices. Values are constantly changing in any field. With new research and new trends that develop, it does not make sense for one to retain the same teaching methods used in 1990. History professors must always be kept up to date with these new trends.

The Five Dimensions of a History Professor: Being

A true history professor is not just an instructor that got stuck with the job of teaching history. They are dedicated to instructing and intrigued by the study of history. A history professor is someone that has pursued that career for many years and has worked hard to get where they are. They show such a deep interest and excitement with their field of choice that they help other students contemplating becoming history majors realize what a great field it is to go into. They take extra time in their daily lives to investigate different topics to better themselves as teachers, and because it’s just generally exciting for them. They look forward to sharing their knowledge with aspiring history majors.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Five Dimensions of a Discourse Community: Doing

History professors often do much more than just teach. Of course they strive to be the best educators they can be, and sometimes win awards for that, but they also make an effort to be the best historians they can be outside of the classroom. They may choose to write books, speak in documentaries, or be a consultant for historical films and museums. History professors also make an effort to move higher up within the university, to possibly become head of their department.

The Five Dimensions of a Discourse Community: Saying/Writing

In the next several posts I will analyze James Paul Gee's five dimensions of discourse communities. I'll start with the saying/writing portion. There is a need for history professors to have constant open communication because of new research in their field that may need to be released. There are often new theories about the "who, what, where, when, and why's" of history. All communication must be professional and clear, as it is important to deliver the message and not mess up new information with metaphors and jokes. And as a professor, one must be kept up to date with new knowledge and ways of teaching that circulate to be on par with other collegues and give students the best education possible.

Identity and Authority

Elizabeth Wardle discusses issues that can arise with identity and authority within the workplace. Issues with identity can arise when one is told to do or write something that conflicts with their personal beliefs. Identity issues in the workplace can generally be resolved fairly easily, either by talking to coworkers or higher-ups, or mentally clearing up the issue on their own. Problems with authority in the workplace can be very difficult to overcome. Authority is not a personal issue, so it can seldom be resolved on your own personal time. Authority is how people in the workplace view you, and if you start out on the wrong foot, it can be difficult to gain authority within the discourse community. A new intern for a history professor of 25 years is going to have little to no authority. It can be difficult to gain authority in that scenario because no matter what suggestions you have or new ideas, it can be difficult to persuade someone so experienced in their field.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Conflicts and Diversity

Ann Johns talks about how discourse communities are so often focused on what people have in common in those groups; language, practices, values, and genres. Most overlook the fact that there are conflicts within discourse communities. It can take a while to be initiated into a discourse community, and even once in people can rebel and try to change things. In the discourse community of history professors, there is not usually rebellion, but there are sometimes changes that need to be made with new trends that come along. A recent new trend that could cause potential conflict within the discourse community is the shift from focusing on gathering mass amounts of knowledge to focusing on the psychology behind students learning. This can cause a rift between newer and older professors. The older ones will already be fossilized in their way of teaching, and the newer ones will be trying to implement new methods.