Exploring Signature Pedagogies
Approaches to Teaching Disciplinary Habits of Mind

Foreword by Anthony A. Ciccone
Paper: 978 1 57922 307 6 / $33.50
Published: October 2008  

Cloth: 978 1 57922 306 9 / $95.00
Published: October 2008  

Publisher: Stylus Publishing
340 pp., 6" x 9"
From the Foreword
“These authors have clearly shown the value in looking for the signature pedagogies of their disciplines. Nothing uncovers hidden assumptions about desired knowledge, skills, and dispositions better than a careful examination of our most cherished practices. The authors inspire specialists in other disciplines to do the same. Furthermore, they invite other colleagues to explore whether relatively new, interdisciplinary fields such as Women’s Studies and Global Studies have, or should have, a signature pedagogy consistent with their understanding of what it means to ‘apprentice’ in these areas." -- Anthony A. Ciccone, Senior Scholar and Director, Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

How do individual disciplines foster deep learning, and get students to think like disciplinary experts?

With contributions from the sciences, humanities, and the arts, this book critically explores how to best foster student learning within and across the disciplines.

This book represents a major advance in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) by moving beyond individual case studies, best practices, and the work of individual scholars, to focus on the unique content and characteristic pedagogies of major disciplines.

Each chapter begins by summarizing the SoTL literature on the pedagogies of a specific discipline, and by examining and analyzing its traditional practices, paying particular attention to how faculty evaluate success. Each concludes by the articulating for its discipline the elements of a “signature pedagogy” that will improve teaching and learning, and by offering an agenda for future research.

Each chapter explores what the pedagogical literature of the discipline suggests are the optimal ways to teach material in that field, and to verify the resulting learning. Each author is concerned about how to engage students in the ways of knowing, the habits of mind, and the values used by experts in his or her field.

Readers will not only benefit from the chapters most relevant to their disciplines. As faculty members consider how their courses fit into the broader curriculum and relate to the other disciplines, and design learning activities and goals not only within the discipline but also within the broader objectives of liberal education, they will appreciate the cross-disciplinary understandings this book affords.

Table of Contents:
Acknowledgements; Foreword - Anthony A. Ciccone; Preface; 1) From Generic to Signature Pedagogies - Nancy L. Chick, Aeron Haynie, & Regan A. R. Gurung; SECTION 1—HUMANITIES; 2) From Learning History to Doing History - Joel M. Sipress and David J. Voelker; 3) Unpacking a Signature Pedagogy in Literary Studies - Nancy L. Chick; SECTION TWO—FINE ARTS; 4) Vision and Re-Vision in Creative Writing Pedagogy - Rebecca Meacham; 5) Theory and Practice - Gary Don, Christa Garvey, and Mitra Sadeghpour; 6) Critique as Signature Pedagogy in the Arts - Helen Klebesadel and Lisa Kornetsky; SECTION THREE—SOCIAL SCIENCES; 7) Moving Toward a Signature Pedagogy in Geography - Cary Komoto; 8) Teaching and Learning in the “Interdisciplinary Discipline” of Human Development - Denise S. Bartell and Kristin M. Vespia; 9) Developing Habits of the Mind, Hand, and Heart in Psychology Undergratuates - Blaine F. Peden and Carmen R. Wilson VanVoorhis; 10) Signature Pedagogy and the Sociological Imagination - Eri Fujieda; SECTION FOUR—NATURAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS; 11) Signature Pedagogy in Agriculture - Michel A. Wattiaux; 12) The Evolution of Scientific Teaching Within The Biological Sciences - Angela Bauer-Dantoin; 13) Signature Pedagogies and SOTL Practices in Computer Science - Diane Christie; 14) Mathematical Reasoning - Kathryn Ernie, Rebecca LeDocq, Sherrie Serros, and Simei Tong; 15) Signature Pedagogies in Introductory Physics - Mark J. Lattery; About the Authors; Index

Reviews & Endorsements:
"This volume sets out to create conceptual and empirical bridges between the scholarship of teaching and learning and the emerging study of signature pedagogies. Drawing upon the talents of gifted scholar-teachers from across the University of Wisconsin’s state-wide array of fine institutions, the editors present a pioneering extension of the concept of signature pedagogy from the professions to the academic disciplines. They demonstrate how faculty members from an entire state system can collaborate as a powerful community of scholars."
- Lee S. Shulman, President, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus , Stanford University
Exploring Signature Pedagogies is a remarkable achievement that is sure to find its way onto everyone’s short shelf of essential books on teaching and learning. Here we see more evidence that the scholarship of teaching and learning can no longer be described as an ‘emergent’ field, but is well into its prime and yielding some of the most exciting and potentially transformative discoveries in higher education today. The ambition of the project is breathtaking: to give fourteen Cook’s tours of selected disciplines across the arts and sciences, highlighting each field’s distinctive habits of head, hand, and heart and how these habits form—or more often, fail to inform—how teaching and learning is done with undergraduates. But the real contribution of the volume lies in the authors’ recommendations for how disciplinary fields might develop signature pedagogies that enact and perform the disciplines’ core concerns. This linking of teaching practices to the specific disciplines being taught makes the concept of signature pedagogies an improvement on older pedagogical enthusiasms such as active learning. It also fully demonstrates the claim that teaching, when properly conceived, is exciting intellectual work. Thus, this is the perfect book to give to faculty members who are dubious of ‘faddish’ education research. It also belongs in the hands of every beginning teacher or anyone wanting a good road map to the problems and possibilities of teaching the liberal arts. Departments will want to discuss the chapters devoted to their discipline, while SoTL researchers will find the collection useful for imagining the next generation of research. In short, there is something here for everyone, making Exploring Signature Pedagogies one of the best portals of entry to the scholarly literature on teaching and learning in higher education."
- Lendol Calder, Associate Professor of History at Augustana College, currently represents the Organization of American Historians on the board of the National Council on History Education.