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A Protest Against Specialization

Just yesterday (I refer to the song by Charles Aznavour “Hier Encore”), over four decades ago when I wasn’t yet an adult, I used to take long walks with my grandfather through the streets of Paris. Three or four times during each walk, he would pause in front of a building and, with his walking […]

Infusing Critical Thinking In A College Classroom

I recently attended a conference at Columbia University. The theme was critical thinking. As Americans, we are taught that critical thinking is a valuable skill that must be cultivated and honed. We are encouraged from a young age to think critically, and as such, we except our students to do the same.

This can be […]

Announcing the Circular Teaching Squad

Abstract: I discuss the rationale for changing the name of our lunch discussion group. Join us March 22nd!

For a couple years now I have been moderating lunch discussions about teaching and learning on campus here at Queens College. I had been doing so under the guise of the Experiential Learning Group started back in […]

Student Forays into Pencil Puzzles

Abstract: In the first six days of my pencil puzzles class, my students have had to think deeply about solving and creating Battleships puzzles. This post discusses the day-to-day class mechanics and assignments.

Now I’ll talk about the first few days of my pencil puzzles class. (Previous post setting the stage.) I started the first […]


This semester I am teaching Math 555: Games and Puzzles for the first time. The class does not serve as a prerequisite for any other class and it does not fulfill any degree requirements more than miscellaneous math credits, which means that I have a free hand to teach the content I want to teach. […]

Attendance issues

Unlike some other colleges at which I teach, Queens College does not penalize students for failing to attend classes. Students seem to be unaware of this policy. I always begin classes by taking attendance, but little do they know, I use roll call as a mnemonic aid; my classes meet once a week, and with […]

Resources for teachers of writing-intensive courses

For those of you teaching writing-intensive (W) courses: every so often Writing at Queens holds workshops for instructors and professors. I recently joined one led by Karina Attar, which will meet six times this semester. Topics include: designing a W syllabus; developing a course vocabulary; scaffolding assignments; introducing students to theory and criticism; integrating grammar […]