Better Than We Think

January 10, 2013

Professors usually don’t make the best teachers, goes a common critique of higher education, especially those at research universities. But a new book challenges that argument, painting the professoriate as an overwhelmingly self-reflective group striving to achieve better learning outcomes over the course of their academic careers. Inside the Undergraduate Teaching Experience, out this month from SUNY Press, is based on a qualitative study of 55 faculty members across different disciplines at the University of Washington, starting in 2009. Extensive interviews with the faculty members, a mix of those recommended by department chairs for exceptional teaching, those randomly selected, and those selected to demographically round out the group, reveal that virtually all faculty in all groups constantly think about how to be more effective teachers. Even when they didn’t know they were doing it, professors described changing course assignments, content and student engagement strategies to improve learning outcomes. Much of that work was done experimentally, with professors using student behavior and performance as gauges of success.

Article Source: Inside Higher Ed