Professor jennifer hurley

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The Wrong Lesson That Almost All Schools Are Teaching

We must stop using rewards and punishments in order to motivate our students. I have believed this for years, but I have never felt it so strongly as last week, when I discussed intrinsic motivation with my community college English composition students. My Zoom class […]

Rubrics and the Dehumanization of Education

I used to have a folder on my computer called “rubrics,” which contained over a dozen variations of rubrics for each writing class I taught. Some were point-based, others descriptive, such as the one below. I worked hard to craft these rubrics, taking care to […]

Why I Had to Give Up Grades or Give Up Teaching

Like many teachers, I have spent countless hours trying to devise a perfect grading system, one that is equal parts fair and rigorous, that will reward students for hard work and punish certain behaviors that I saw as detrimental to my students’ progress. For twenty […]

How the Study of Literature Helps Combat Racism

A few years ago, the California State University (CSU) system decided to drop Introduction to Literature as a graduation requirement for its students. Shortly thereafter, our college and many other California community colleges followed suit. As a consequence of this change, students would go through […]

Guest Post by Elisa Castillo: True Happiness, The Essence of Life

I share this essay written by my wonderful student Elisa Castillo so that we can learn from her wisdom how to be happy in these trying times. –Jennifer Hurley We were created to be happy. The whole purpose of our life journey is to find […]

Guest Post: The Detriment of Grades

by Osvaldo Granados My student Osvaldo speaks truth to power in this extraordinary critique of grades. I am so proud to be his teacher. “…The absence of grades is a necessary, though not sufficient, condition for deep thinking and desire to engage in it” (Kohn […]

Slow Teaching During the Coronavirus

Perhaps I jinxed myself when, at the beginning of 2020, I announced to my husband that my word of 2020 was “slow.” Since the coronavirus, slow has become an inescapable reality. There is no traffic to battle, no hallways to rush down, no clutch of […]

Against Outcome-Based Education

I always have thought that the essence of learning was surprise. That feeling we get when we encounter a totally new idea—that’s surprise, a kind of delighted amazement makes us crave more. So I wonder if our desire to make education more tidy is actually deadening it for our students. In our quest to measure everything, we are leaving the frosting and sprinkles off the cupcakes.

Why We Need Books More Than Ever

It is only a slight exaggeration to say that reading saved my life. I was born prematurely, with undeveloped lungs, and I was not expected to survive. In the middle of the night—this was February, in Maryland— I was taken by helicopter to a bigger […]

Doing Less Better

A new semester is about to begin, and already I feel the overwhelm. I feel it in my body: a tightness in my throat and jaw. So many students, so many emails, so many tasks—giant and minute—to manage. As an introvert, teaching often feels to […]