Readings, Readings Everywhere: The Importance of Framing Articles with Pedagogical Elements in an Anthology
A well-crafted anthology is an opportunity to expose students to a variety of viewpoints, voices, and sources of information. With an assortment of readings at their fingertips, students can exercise their critical thinking skills, participate in scholarly reflection, learn new information, and expand their worldviews.
A vital step in publishing an effective anthology is framing your selected readings, articles, chapters, and cases with pedagogical elements that provide students with necessary context, aid in their retention of the material, and ensure the learning objectives for a course are recognized and met.
The inclusion of pedagogical features can enhance the appeal of the anthology and make it a more compelling and effective instructional tool for adopting professors to also use in their courses.
When compiling readings for an anthology, consider the following pedagogical strategies:
Write an original introduction for each unit, chapter, or reading. You can use this opportunity to explain how and why you selected the readings for the anthology, provide background on the author(s) of the readings, emphasize the historical context of the readings, or highlight the unique perspectives offered within the volume.
Write pre-reading questions for each unit or chapter. These questions can prepare students to think about a particular theme or topic, help students relate the material to their own lives or experiences, and connect the readings to information students have learned in other courses.
Create post-reading questions for each unit or chapter. These questions can test students’ comprehension and retention of the material presented, challenge students to summarize or analyze what they’ve learned, or connect what they’ve read to other information or personal experiences. Well-crafted post-reading questions can also serve as homework assignments for adopting professors.
Craft an introduction or preface for the volume. An introduction discusses the overall subject matter of the book, the perspective of the author or editor, the organization of the material, and the uniform features of each unit, section, or chapter. It clearly identifies the audience and purpose of the text.
A preface explains the genesis, purpose, limitations, and general scope of the book. It can also include acknowledgements.
Solicit a foreword. A foreword is written by someone other than the editor, often a notable individual in the discipline. Typically, the foreword author will explain their connection to the anthology editor or to the subject matter of the book and then provide a candid and personal response to the book.
Each of these pedagogical features can transform a simple collection of scholarly readings into a cohesive, valuable, and complete learning experience for students.