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ERIC Number: EJ835854
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 15
ISSN: ISSN-0882-4843
The Old Woman and the Rug: The Wonder and Pain of Teaching (and Learning) Chemistry
Middlecamp, Catherine Hurt
Feminist Teacher: A Journal of the Practices, Theories, and Scholarship of Feminist Teaching, v19 n2 p134-149 2009
Like any good story, the Sufi tale places the listener squarely in the midst of life; that is, precisely where learning takes place. The tale pointed out that learning can be both exhilarating and painful. In college classrooms, teachers (and their students) are spared neither of these emotions when they engage in the learning process. In this essay, the author reflects on her experiences teaching two different chemistry courses that have wider societal issues at their core. The first, Chemistry in Context, is a large lecture course of over 250 students that nonscience majors mostly take as a requirement (Middlecamp, Chemistry 108). The second is a small course of about twenty-five students taught at the intersection of indigenous people and nuclear chemistry (Middlecamp, Chemistry 201). Here, the author weaves examples from these courses together with the insights gleaned from the characters in the Sufi tale--the old woman, the man on horseback, and the rug. The resulting tapestry shows something about the nature of who teachers are and what they do in the classroom, perhaps with a bit of wonder and pain. (Contains 6 figures and 7 notes.)
University of Illinois Press. 1325 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6903. Tel: 217-244-0626; Fax: 217-244-8082; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A