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ERIC Number: EJ906128
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Nov
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 14
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0994
Self-Disclosure as a Strategic Teaching Tool: What I Do--And Don't--Tell My Students
Tobin, Lad
College English, v73 n2 p196-206 Nov 2010
Self-disclosures about religious belief, race-related discomfort, sexual history, or personal trauma are risky strategies for classroom teachers. But the relevant question is not whether those topics are inherently inappropriate; instead, the question is whether any particular disclosure on one of those topics helps rather than hinders that teacher's ability to illustrate a particular concept, maintain an effective teaching persona, or establish a more productive relationship with a particular audience of students. In this article, the author argues that self-disclosure should be evaluated with the same rigor and respect that one brings to other discourses, and should be employed only when it is an equally good or better rhetorical choice. In defending "strategic" rather than "all" uses of the personal, the author is also acknowledging the role of differing applications and interpretations of pedagogical self-disclosure. Adopting a controversial political position or telling a story about some personal failure is likely to pose very different risks for different teachers working in different contexts. So, in the spirit and service of arguing that the effectiveness of personal revelation in a classroom can be assessed only in the context of a particular teacher, course, and group of students, the author explains why and how he chooses to employ the personal in his classes.
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A