Creative Teaching Techniques: Flipping the Literature Classroom

Paula Reiter, Mount Mary University

Introduction

Mount Mary University is a small Catholic women’s university in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mount Mary identifies itself as a liberal arts university and has a particularly strong history in the art and design fields. The school’s mission statement includes the following description: “The baccalaureate curriculum integrates the liberal arts with career preparation for women of diverse ages and personal circumstances.” Two years ago, Mount Mary began a new initiative to infuse creativity into all aspects of the undergraduate curriculum.

Mount Mary’s Creative Campus initiative comes at a time the wider American public has begun to doubt the value of a liberal arts education. The liberal arts, and the humanities in particular, have come under fire as being “useless” or a “luxury.” As a result, many institutions of higher learning have veered sharply toward education exclusively as career training.

The following video addresses the challenge of infusing the literature classroom with creative teaching techniques. I demonstrate how to “flip” the classroom to make time for extended creative projects that involve students directly. At the same time, it argues for why and how literature continues to be an essential part of any true education. Perhaps more importantly, it focuses on how to teach literature so students feel it matters in their lives.

Video lecture (YouTube link)