Teaching Portfolio

Below are titles and descriptions of courses that I have taught (both in higher education and secondary education) and some highlights from my teaching and speaking evaluations.


HIGHER EDUCATION COURSES

Baylor University

EDA 6302: Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

After taking this graduate-level seminar, I was asked by the professor to return the next semester as co-teacher. I regularly led seminar discussions on topics such as the learning paradigm (Barr and Tagg), effective lectures (McKeachie), discussion as a way of teaching (Brookfield and Preskill), academic freedom (Tierney and Lechuga), responding to resistance (Brookfield), teaching and Christian practices (James K. A. Smith and David I. Smith), authentic pedagogy (Call), courage and teaching (Palmer), and technology and teaching (Kemp). I met with the professor weekly to plan classes, and I provided feedback for assignments such as lectures and leading discussions, course syllabi, teaching observations, and teaching portfolios. Our required textbooks were Ken Bain’s What the Best College Teachers Do and Parker Palmer’s The Courage to Teach.

HON 3200/3201: Honors Colloquium

Honors students meet roughly every three weeks to discuss a book and submit a paper, and the discussion leaders for this course comprise graduate students and full-time faculty members. This course is discussion-based, and I chose the texts and graded the papers for each discussion. My texts have been Erasmus and Luther’s Discourse on Free Will, René Girard’s I See Satan Fall Like Lightning, Robert Farrar Capon’s The Supper of the Lamb, G. K. Chesterton’s The Ballad of the White Horse, and Josef Pieper’s Leisure: The Basis of Culture.

ENG 2301: British Literature

This sophomore-level literature survey gives students a broad overview of British literature. Themes and emphases for my course include homecoming, defamiliarization, vengeance and forgiveness, exile/death and return/resurrection, pain and beauty, boundaries and freedom, the significance of inset narratives, human agency and divine providence, storytelling as worldview training, teaching by delighting, fiction as inoculation, and literature as virtue formation. Students read for daily quizzes, come prepared to ask questions about the text, memorize one or two short poems, write a short argument essay, and take a midterm and a final exam. In addition to our literature texts, we read Louis Markos’s Literature: A Student’s Guide.

ENG 1304: Research and Writing

This first-year course builds on ENG 1302 (see below) and goes further by requiring the writing to conform to academic research guidelines. Therefore, students write and submit a sizable research paper at the end of the semester, after having written smaller research papers throughout the term. Students analyze arguments using the Toulmin model of argumentation, and students learn how to read charitably and adjust their writing tone as they use Rogerian argumentation. In this course, we think about these two kinds of argumentation by spending several class periods analyzing a speech and a letter by Martin Luther King, Jr. At Baylor we use university-specific textbooks for composition, but I have added Scott F. Crider’s The Office of Assertion: An Art of Rhetoric for the Academic Essay and readings from They Say / I Say. I taught a similar course at McLennan Community College (ENGL 1302) and Charleston Southern University (ENGL 111).

ENG 1302: Thinking and Writing

Students in this first-year course focus on the rhetorical situation as they write essays in a number of genres, including responding, explaining, evaluating, and problem-solving. Class discussions help students to think aloud about current issues, and students read a variety of essays written in different genres to help them see what good writing looks like. We also spend time studying essentials of grammar, logic, and rhetoric.

Charleston Southern University

ENGL 112: Composition and Rhetoric II

This first-year course emphasizes writing on literary topics. Students study three major literary genres: poetry, fiction, and drama. I mixed British and American literature and even incorporated Greek drama (Sophocles’s Oedipus the King). Students discussed the form and content of the literature selections and wrote several short critical analysis papers.

Virginia College

ENG 1010: English Composition I

Students review grammar, punctuation, and mechanics with a view toward writing in different genres, such as narration, description, and process. Students also learn to construct basic workplace-related documents, such as letters, memos, and résumés.

ENG 0100: Preparatory English

This preparatory course helps students obtain necessary writing skills to succeed in future classes.

EDU 1010: Learning Framework

In this required education course, students learn practical ways to succeed in higher education, including identifying blind spots, setting goals, adhering to professional expectations, etc.


SECONDARY EDUCATION COURSES

Palmetto Christian Academy

British literature, high school juniors

Creative writing, high school students

Bible (Christian worldview, major world religions), middle school students

Northside Christian Academy

World literature, high school seniors

British literature, high school juniors

American literature, high school sophomores

Composition and literature surveys, middle school and high school students

Eastside Co-op

Composition, high school students


HIGHLIGHTS FROM TEACHING AND SPEAKING EVALUATIONS

Top four (of sixteen) categories from semester teaching evaluations (BU)

The instructor was concerned that students learn the material of the course.

The instructor treated students with respect.

The instructor appeared interested in the subject material.

The instructor was well-prepared for each class.

Representative comments from teaching evaluations (BU)

EDA 6302: Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

“I thought that you had just as much impact on the success of the course as Dr. Scales. Your personality is an excellent complement to hers which helped to show a cohesiveness to the course regardless of who was guiding the topic at hand. I enjoyed the different discussions and activities that you led and thought that you did a masterful job at each. I always knew that I would be challenged by your questions and thoughts but would be appreciated for whatever contribution I could make. Thank you for an excellent class, I appreciate your work.”

ENG 2301: British Literature

“The instructor had an amazing grasp of the material and was concerned about his students’ success. For example he was completely willing to work with us in figuring out our paper topics and contributed to our ideas. I greatly enjoyed this class and I feel that I learned a lot. Overall, I would say that this was one of the best literature classes that I have ever taken.”

“He is well prepared and comes to class eager to teach. He explains things well and takes time on topics that he knows we might have trouble on. He never rushes to get through the scheduled information; he would rather spend more time so that everyone understands than to move on and leave the class behind to keep his agenda.”

“The professor is obviously really invested in the material, and it’s easy to tell that he wants us to do well. Our learning the material seems to be a big concern, which contributes to his effectiveness.”

“Mr. Larson is very interested in what he is teaching and well-versed in each of the materials. This helps him to open up our insight into what we read and makes the class more interesting. I was not looking forward to taking a Brit Lit class but the books that he chose were good and made the class enjoyable.”

ENG 1304: Research and Writing

“Mr. Larson may have been the most well spoken and articulate professor that I’ve encountered while at Baylor. He treats all of his students with respect and encourages discussion about the topics.”

“Mr. Larson makes classes interesting by engaging all his students. He has a great sense of humor which makes the course very enjoyable. He is also very friendly and is always willing to help his students in any way possible. For example, he would invite us to lunch to get to know us better, or set up appointments with us outside of class to talk about our papers.”

“Mr. Larson is great, and his humor and enthusiasm made this course so enjoyable, which I think contributed most to his effectiveness.”

“He’s the best. Enough said.”

ENG 1302: Thinking and Writing

“I love having Mr. Larson as a teacher, he was very fair and I enjoyed coming to class. He made the class fun to come to and the assignments, although they might have been boring and dry, were made fun. He taught very well and I am sad to leave his class.”

“He was always well prepared and had an answer for every question. He was clear in instructions and also deliberate.”

“He seemed like he genuinely enjoyed the subject and wanted us to learn and become better writers.”

“The instructor is very patient, hardworking and understanding.”

Other comments

Dr. Thomas Hanks (observing a conference presentation, Baylor University, Fall 2015): “Excellent” rating in all categories on the evaluation form. “Relaxed but carrying voice. Upright posture. Appropriate gestures. Good rate of speech. Clear focus and organization. Helpful scholarly review; full and detailed. Excellent use of text in appropriate places. Good use of humor. Theme of ‘heroic martyrdom’ intriguing. An excellent presentation overall.”

Dr. Preston Waller (observing a class discussion, McLennan Community College, Fall 2012): “Mr. Larson discussed the definitions and parameters of ‘rhetoric,’ an activity directly applicable to the objectives of ENGL 1302. Jeremy’s presentational style was professional, and his points were well-articulated. Relating well to his students, the instructor incorporated pertinent illustrations to which his students could easily relate. He also included contemporary examples, such as the current political debates. Jeremy’s conversational style embodied a friendly, easy tone to which his students responded positively. Mr. Larson delineated his points on the blackboard, and his structure was easy to follow. His body language was appropriate and comfortable. A suggestion for improvement: Mr. Larson might have used silence more to encourage student participation. He’s obviously doing a great job in the classroom.”