This chapter champions pleasure as important to teaching and learning.
It seems obvious that when one teaches well, one enjoys it, but perhaps the reverse is actually more accurate: that when one enjoys teaching, one does it well . . . it may be the case that pleasure -- experienced by the instructor and the students -- is the most important predictor of "learning outcomes." (34)
Pleasure here is discussed as a positive and embodied emotion that affects our thinking in important ways, arguing against online coursework on the ground that it is not as effective as face-to-face interaction where emotions are infectious. The authors here quote Picard et al:
"a slight positive mood does not just make you feel a little better but also induces a different kind of thinking, characterised by a tendency toward greater creativity and flexibility in problem solving, as well as more efficiency and thoroughness in decision making." (37)
Who doesn't want to gain greater creativity and flexibility in problem solving? Who doesn't want students engaging in more creative and flexible thinking in the classroom? The answer is to "work at having positive emotions" in order to counteract the brain's instinctive negativity bias with several suggestions, the most succinct of which is probably we need to "stop abusing ourselves with overwork" (40). The other suggestions were varied: remember to make a transition to class; "hold the space" in silence before beginning class; remember to breathe; don't be afraid to laugh and make students laugh; listen and pay attention to students; giving students specific boundaries in the syllabus or course guidelines about social media (one lesson I took from the "intercepting" section); "'reduc[e] one's attention to time may therefore be an important, yet previously overlooked, means of promoting flow'" (as quoted from Conti, 50), (the other lesson I took from the "intercepting" section; prepare classes in brief enjoyable sessions; think about preparing one's class as a story as well as use stories to make the lessons more engaging; prepare assignments that are "useful and enjoyable for the students themselves" (50).
What is the most difficult part of teaching for you? How could you make teaching, preparing for teaching, and/or grading more pleasurable? Are there boundaries you could set that would help make teaching more pleasurable? What concrete steps could we take to "stop abusing ourselves with overwork"? What gets in the way of really listening and attending to students? Is there a way to introduce "timeless time" into the classroom without getting hopelessly behind? What does thinking about your course as a story do for you?