ISBN-10:
0674013255
ISBN-13:
9780674013254
Pub. Date:
04/30/2004
Publisher:
Harvard
What the Best College Teachers Do

What the Best College Teachers Do

by Ken Bain
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Overview

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 lecture notes matter less than the special way teachers comprehend the subject and value human learning. Whether historians or physicists, in El Paso or St. Paul, the best teachers know their subjects inside and out—but they also know how to engage and challenge students and to provoke impassioned responses. Most of all, they believe two things fervently: that teaching matters and that students can learn.

In stories both humorous and touching, Bain describes examples of ingenuity and compassion, of students' discoveries of new ideas and the depth of their own potential. What the Best College Teachers Do is a treasure trove of insight and inspiration for first-year teachers and seasoned educators.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674013254
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 04/30/2004
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 40,902
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Ken Bain is President of the Best Teachers Institute and a former professor of history at Northwestern, Vanderbilt, the University of Texas, and New York University.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Introduction: Defining the Best
  • 2. What Do They Know about How We Learn?
  • 3. How Do They Prepare to Teach?
  • 4. What Do They Expect of Their Students?
  • 5. How Do They Conduct Class?
  • 6. How Do They Treat Their Students?
  • 7. How Do They Evaluate Their Students and Themselves?
  • Epilogue: What Can We Learn from Them?
  • Appendix: How the Study Was Conducted
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index

What People are Saying About This

Reading this book is a joy. Ken Bain has conducted years of careful research on a variety of campuses, and the result is an inspirational summary of what teachers do that truly makes a difference in students' lives, and what any teacher can do to improve. As a teacher myself, I found I couldn't put this book down.

Richard Light

Reading this book is a joy. Ken Bain has conducted years of careful research on a variety of campuses, and the result is an inspirational summary of what teachers do that truly makes a difference in students' lives, and what any teacher can do to improve. As a teacher myself, I found I couldn't put this book down.
Richard Light, author of Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds

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What the Best College Teachers Do 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
all4metals on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is really just a rehashing of research on teaching effectiveness. The author does write well. If you are new to college teaching, then I would recommend it as an initial book.
porch_reader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've been a college professor for 7 years. I spent 5 years in a Ph.D. program learning about motivation and leadership and teams - the topics I teach and do research on. But very little of that time was spent on how to teach. I've learned a lot along the way through talking to colleagues and through trial and error. I also try to read books on the science of teaching as well, and I found [What the Best College Teachers Do] to be one of the best books that I've read on this topic. Based on his research on excellent teachers, Ken Bain discusses both the overarching philosophy of excellent teachers as well as a number of specific practices that these teachers use. He emphasizes that knowledge is constructed when students have to struggle with challenges that their existing ways of thinking do not help them address. He encourages professors to structure their courses around big questions that will both guide class activities and motivate students to learn. He challenges the idea that professors transmit knowledge, but suggests instead that professors create an environment in which students can learn effectively. I found this book useful in both clarifying some of my existing ideas about structuring college courses and providing me with some new ideas as well. This book might also be interesting for parents of prospective college students because finding these excellent teachers can help inspire a passion for a topic or a passion for learning itself.
LTITC on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"With the strong conviction that good teaching can be learned, and after 15 years of observing teachers in action, Bain undertook an exploration of the essentials of effective teaching. The result is an insightful look at what makes a great teacher, based on a study of three dozen teachers from a cross section of disciplines from medical-school faculties to undergraduate departments. After interviewing students and colleagues, observing classrooms and laboratories, and examining course materials from syllabi to lecture notes, Bain concludes that the quality of teaching is measured not by whether students pass exams but whether they retain the material to such an extent that it influences their thoughts and actions."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed the stories in this book.
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