National Collegiate Honors Council


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Published in Breaking Barriers in Teaching and Learning, edited by James Ford and John Zubizarreta. National Collegiate Honors Council Teaching and Learning Monograph III (2018), 254p.


Copyright © 2018 by National Collegiate Honors Council.


When I first stumbled upon honors education over two decades ago while team-teaching a seminar called “Poetry and the Condition of Music,” it was the freedom inside and outside the classroom that most caught my attention. Sprung from the shackles of my usual British Literature survey, one in which students trudged through a rigid chronology of canonical authors, I was free to design a course with the university’s choral director that put ancient oral poets in dialogue with rap musicians; that explored the collaboration between W. H. Auden and Benjamin Britten; that set Langston Hughes against crucial jazz influences. Additionally, as someone who was (and is!) deeply resistant to authority in any form, I loved the idea of turning over control of a classroom discussion to students: doing so with a partner in team-teaching arrangements encouraged us to step off the teaching stage and clear space for the talented undergraduates in the seminar.