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Ken Bain describes What the Best College Teachers Do…
Guest: Ken Bain
President, Best Teachers Institute, Ken Bain (Twitter: @kenbain1)
“Internationally recognized for his insights into teaching and learning and for a fifteen-year study of what the best educators do”
“His now classic book What the Best College Teachers Do. (Harvard University Press, 2004) won the 2004 Virginia and Warren Stone Prize for an outstanding book on education and society, and has been one of the top selling books on higher education. It has been translated into twelve languages and was the subject of an award-winning television documentary series in 2007.”
He was the founding director of four major teaching and learning centers.
WHAT THE BEST COLLEGE TEACHERS DO
Many will be familiar with What the Best College Teachers Do… If not, press stop, and get your hands on it.
What’s still the same, in the >10 years since the book was published?
“Ask engaging questions that spark people’s curiosity and fascination that people find intriguing…”
What’s changed, if anything?
- More definition around the natural critical learning environment
- Started with 4-5 basic elements
- Since then, they have identified 15 different elements…
- Deep approach to learning; deep achievement in learning
[Good teaching] is about having students answer questions or solving problems that they find intriguing, interesting, or beautiful. (Ken Bain)
Learner isn’t in charge of the questions. Teacher can raise questions that the learner will never invent on their own.
Need to give learners the same kind of learning condition and environment that we expect as advanced learners.
[As an advanced learner, asking for input from colleagues]… I would expect an environment in which I would try, fail, receive feedback… and do that in advance of and separate from anybody's judgment or anyone's grading of my work. (Ken Bain)
Bonni's introduction to business students are listening to the StartUp Podcast and making recommendations to the founders in the form of a business plan
The tone that you set in the classroom matters
We often teach as if we are God. (Craig Nelson)
Need to recognize the contingency in our own knowledge.
As advanced learners in our respective fields, we are interested in certain questions, because we were once interested in another question. (Ken Bain)
Another important study by Richard Light at Harvard asked: What are the qualities of those courses at Harvard that students find most intellectually rewarding?
When he published his initial results:
- High, but meaningful standards… important to the students beyond the scope of the class.
- Plenty of opportunity to try, fail, receive feedback… try again… all in advance of an separate from any grading of their work
As a historian, could begin with: “What do you think it means to think like a good historian.” Think, pair, square, share… Would then have an article on hand that someone else had written on the topic. Ask them to look at that article to compare their own thinking with that.
Collaborative Learning: Higher Education, Interdependence, and the Authority of Knowledge, by Kenneth Bruffee
What people are doing when they learn something is joining a community of knowledgeable peers. (Kenneth Bruffee)
Essential to this whole process is engagement
Harvard Professor: Eric Mazure, winner of the $500k Minerva Prize
Think, pair, share (Bonni)
The girl who saved the king of Sweeden, by Jonas Jonason (Ken)
kenbain [at] usa [dot] com
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