This contribution to the second installment of the Common Knowledge symposium “Inside the Humanities Classroom” describes the experience of teaching a single class meeting of the year-long Western Civilization survey course at Vanderbilt University. The essay examines both the professional and pedagogical challenges involved in organizing the class and the strategies employed to encourage critical reflection and historical thinking among the students. In addition, the author explores his own insecurities as a teacher and explains the means that, over many years of teaching this course, he has found of handling them. The changes demanded when teaching a Western Civilization class composed in large part of students from mainland China is treated as well.

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