Shakespeare on Eclipses

Prepping for tomorrow’s first meeting of my Shakespeare class. In 1598, during Shakespeare’s lifetime, England experienced a total solar eclipse, with the path of totality tracking from Cornwall in the southwest up to Aberdeen in Scotland. As we in the twenty-first century prepare for the Great American Eclipse on Aug 21, let’s look at three of the ways Shakespeare used eclipses in his plays and poems: 1. An eclipse as an ill…

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College Instructors Don’t Require Enough Writing

I was surprised a few years ago to learn during a curriculum design meeting that I was the only faculty member in the room to require a 20-page paper. When I took a 300-level Shakespeare course as an undergraduate, we read one play a week and were expected to write a 10-page research paper every other week. So when I started teaching a 300-level Shakespeare, I thought I was going…

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Any Interaction with a Service Dog Is Distracting

The director of our counseling and accommodations office sent out a Word document with tips on how to interact with service animals. (Basically, ignore the animal, who is busy working. You can silently push the “door open” button if you see a person and service animal approaching the door, but don’t expect the person to take time to indulge your desire to play with or talk about the animal.) I…

People with autism spectrum disorder avoid eye contact because it causes anxiety

My culture has taught me that eye contact is a sign of respect and empathy. As a teacher, I value eye contact because it’s a way students can assure me they are paying attention. (Lack of eye contact is also useful feedback; when I see too many students smiling vacantly while staring at something they are holding under the table, I know I need to shift my teaching tactics.) Today…