Posts By: David Ebenbach

Putting Well-Being in the Lesson Plan

When students enter the classroom, they show up in their full complexity, with many layers and intersecting identities. In other words, they don’t just bring their intellects, which of course are not separable from all the other things that characterize people—background experience, hopes, concerns, physical and mental health (and/or health issues), and lots more. This… Read more »

Ignatian Pedagogy: The Meaning of Reflection

How can we make learning mean something? How can we go beyond conveying information to helping students grow in understanding and wisdom? At a Jesuit institution like Georgetown, we might turn for answers to the rich tradition of Ignatian Pedagogy. This contemplative approach to teaching is rooted in the sixteenth-century spiritual exercises of Saint Ignatius—and… Read more »

Really, Though: How’s the Semester Going?

The typical greeting on campus these days involves the question “How’s the semester going?” There are common answers, too, maybe involving how fast time is going by, or how much the grading is piling up—but, beyond those habitual observations, it can be hard to be sure just exactly how class is going. Most students at… Read more »

Keeping Goals in the Picture

In the bustle (and sometimes chaos) of the semester itself, it can be easy to get lost in the day-to-day details and forget the bigger picture. But of course there is a bigger picture, and it’s the answer to this question: What do you want your students to achieve in your course? The answer to… Read more »

The Coming Storm: Snow, Emails, and Other Forces

We’re not too deep into the semester, but you may already be buried. Maybe you’re under a pile of emails—or voicemails, or requests for appointments outside your office hours. Things can get overwhelming. Hopefully you’ve already established some guidelines for your students in terms of how and when you want them to communicate with you… Read more »

Teaching Through Political Change and Tension

This week of the Presidential Inauguration is likely to be a challenging one for many students. Those who are concerned about the incoming administration may well be distracted and upset, and those who are excited about the change could well feel defensive and tense. In some classes—e.g., political science, history, sociology—these issues might come out… Read more »

Building a Course for Everyone

No two courses are ever the same, even if it’s one you’ve taught over and over again, even if you’re not planning to make any changes. That’s because every time you teach a class you’re teaching a new group of students. Each group comes with its own range of learning styles, abilities, experiences, motivations, and… Read more »

Finish the Semester Like You Mean It

This time of year, we can clearly begin to see our courses winding down. For some of us, it might be a shock—didn’t class just begin? For others, it might feel like we’re in the last quarter-mile of a very long hike up a very tall mountain. Either way, the end of the semester is… Read more »

Charged Learning Spaces: Teaching After the Election

In the aftermath of the 2016 election, many classrooms have become charged and fraught spaces. Regardless of the subject matter, students carry their feelings and opinions into the room. Some may be elated and others may be shaken, grieving, and fearful; any of these feelings (and more) might affect students’ ability to learn. In some… Read more »

Cura Personalis: Veteran Stories and the Coming Home Dialogues

CNDLS Fellow David Ebenbach (Center for Jewish Civilization) shares reflections on the importance and impact of knowing who your students are and where they come from.  In my five-plus years here at Georgetown, I’ve been struck repeatedly by the significant and important presence military veterans have on our campus. My own writing classes have certainly benefited a… Read more »