On Teaching Fashion: Creating New Assignments

Last week, Kelly wrote a great post about using the summer as a time to prepare for fall courses.  She offered a very systematic approach to re-organizing content and planning time for additional research.  New content is always on my mind.  As the weeks of the term go by, I am always assessing what works and doesn’t work in the classroom.  I’ve made on major observation: if I show any sense of fatigue or disinterest, my students will mirror my behavior. 

Mirroring can make or break your class. Image courtesy of katieflanagan.wordpress.com


Sitting through the same presentation topics term after term brings me to a breaking point.  After three terms, I need to change the assignments.  If I am glazed over by the repetition, I simply cannot give my students the full energy and attention they deserve.  Creating new assignments keeps the course exciting not only for the students, but for the teacher as well.


Image courtesy of tonymerida.net


When I’m ready to reassess the major projects of each class, I consult topics from symposia and calls for papers (CFPs) for new ideas.  There are so many interesting conferences and opportunities in academia.  However, scheduling and budgetary restrictions can prevent me from attending. Instead of wishing I was there, I model an assignment based around the conference theme that I wanted to attend.  This way, I encourage my students to conduct new research,.  I also get to learn quite a bit while creating the assignment and listening to new presentations.

H-Net consistently offers a great list of CFPs.  You can search by keyword or topic to target the right theme for a new assignment.  Also check regularly on Worn Through.  Our contributing editors post CFPs for fashion topics all the time.





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