One Article in Two Versions

The article that you requested can be found in the e-book made available here. However, you may be interested in reading the alternative version of the chapter that I had originally submitted to the editor to which it was assigned. That editor judged this first draft to be unacceptable and recommended drastic changes – changes so draconian that it would not constitute the same article. In fact, it was the most complete rejection that I have ever experienced in my entire career. Facing the prospect of having to write the essay almost from scratch, I thought for some time that I would simply withdraw from the project. But having an unexpected lull in my other writing assignments, I finally got around to composing the current version, and it was accepted with no more than trivial changes.

But the original version can be obtained here. Although they get across some of the same information, the difference between the two is substantial. I had originally wanted to convey my approach to instruction by providing a direct illustration of how I teach in the classroom. To maintain my students’ curiosity throughout a 50-minute lecture, I introduce elements of suspense and surprise. That technique is clearly represented in the essay. If I had to give a lecture on the subject of the essay, this is how I would have done it. To be sure, the second version that was actually published is more professional, more polished, more academic, more … well, more like any other chapter in a scholarly anthology. The published version does give a good idea of how I write articles for professional consumption. But if you’re a reader who wants to experience more directly how I actually teach before a room full of students, the first draft is the one for you.

You’ll learn something else from reading the latter: The contents of every contribution to this volume was completely dictated by the editors – right down to chapter headings, the specific questions to be addressed in each section, and the number of words to be devoted to each topic. This magnitude of encroachment on the freedom usually enjoyed by a scholar and teacher seemed a bit extreme, and certainly unprecedented. So that may count as another reason why it may be unfortunate that my mini-rebellion against artificial constraints so thoroughly failed. Read the rest of the articles in the collection and make up your own mind!