What the Best College Teachers Do
What makes a great teacher great? Who are the professors students remember long after graduation? This book, the conclusion of a fifteen-year study of nearly one hundred college teachers in a wide variety of fields and universities, offers valuable answers for all educators.
The short answer is--it's not what teachers do, it's what they understand. Lesson plans and lectu...more
This book is an accessible yet thorough report on an extensive 15-year qualitative study of 63 great college teachers. The book answers six questions:
1) What do they know about how we learn?
Short answer: Learning is NOT a bunch of knowledge I open your head and pour in. Learning is always built on previous knowledge and experience, and takes place when t...more
Revision/Update: Bain's not helpful. If you want to figure out how to be a "best" college teacher, read first: Bridging the Class Divide by Linda Stout, an...more
His thirteen leading questions for how to prepare to teach are very helpful; the first one is "What big questions will my course help students answer, or what skills, abilities, or qualities will it help them develop...?" Note that this question does n...more
College costs since I graduated in 1981 have risen twice as fast as medical costs, three times as fast as family incomes and four times as fast as inflation. With average private school costs approaching $40,000 a year and public school costs approaching $20,000 a year, the OECD estimates that the United States spent 2.6% of GDP in 2008 on education, about $370 billion. Given the investment, understanding what the best educators do is important.
I was okay with there being no specific techniques touted, but there was one idea I disagreed with considerably: the author does not like...more
Hope to write more about what I learned in my blog. Not to brag, but this blog basically confirmed all of my instincts. The focus should be not on what teachers do, but on what students learn. Specific techniques or methods matter less than constantly evaluating what works or what doesn't and thinking critically and seriously about teaching as a passion and an...more
In terms of criticism, two things come to mind.
First, the book seems to be an academic paper expanded to book form. As such, there is plenty of fluff. Some of the fluff is useful and adds embellishment to Bain's main points, but some of the fluff is just fluff.
Second, Bain's tone throughout the book is one of objective reporter. The tone is a perfect fit for the subjec...more
The greatest difficulty, for...more
Ken Bain puts to words a practice of teaching we all should be seeking as both educators as well as fellow humans. Teach not as a way to transfer knowledge but to engage yourself in a process where you learn as much about your student as you want your students to learn about the subject you are teaching. Ken reminds us that our students are people, are unique and bring with them life. We need to learn to integrate our Learning objectives in a students life and experience. We should...more