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Keeping Your Classroom C.R.I.S.P.

Unity of Purpose as an Organizing Principle

By Hal Blythe and Charlie Sweet, Eastern Kentucky University

Are you and your millennial students losing your focus in the classroom? Here's a solution that works.

Watched yourself on tape teaching class recently, or even been to observe a colleague? This past semester, in our role as faculty developers, we’ve visited a lot of classrooms on our campus (Eastern Kentucky) as well as other campuses.

For the most part, we’ve seen instructors dash in after the bell, plunge into class in medias res —like the opening of a Greek epic— race through the class as if it’s a speed-dating session, and finish by shouting instructions to scurrying students disappearing down the hallway for their next class. Not a pretty picture.

In truth, though, why should we expect more from instructors? Most of us had no graduate classes in pedagogy or classroom management; most of us do not have a mentor; and there is not much emphasis on faculty development in our colleges and universities.

As committees breed like rabbits, our employers expect more service and a greater number of publications for promotion, tenure, and merit. Twelve- and fifteen-hour course loads are often the norm. And our burden of newer responsibilities—e-mail, program assessment, Blackboard, etc.—grows each year. Is there something faculty can do to regain that focus in the classroom that leads to greater student learning? Absolutely, and it’s not that difficult.

Meet Hal Blythe and Charlie Sweet



Hal Blythe and Charlie Sweet are co-directors of the Teaching & Learning Center at Eastern Kentucky University. Former professors of English, they have a combined 76 years’ teaching experience. Frequent collaborators in teaching and writing, they have ten books (five in the New Forums Press “It Works for Me … “ series) and over 600 publications. In addition to appearing in academic journals (Hemingway Review, Pedagogy), they have also published fiction (stories in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Bloody Ground, a story collection ) as well as articles on writing in popular magazines (The Writer, TV Guide). They can be reached at and

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