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Learning from the Best What the Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain Answer in One Sentence “[They] helped their students learn in ways that made a sustained, substantial, and positive influence on how those students think, act, and feel.” What Do the Best Teachers Know and Understand?

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learning from the best

Learning from the Best

What the Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain

answer in one sentence
Answer in One Sentence

“[They] helped their students learn in ways that made a sustained, substantial, and positive influence on how those students think, act, and feel.”

what do the best teachers know and understand
What Do the Best TeachersKnow and Understand?
  • “When we can successfully stimulate our students to ask their own questions, we are laying the foundation for learning.”
  • Students can successfully pass courses without learning much, if anything.
  • They “help students keep the larger questions of the course constantly at the forefront.”
  • They “create … a natural critical learning environment in which they embed the skills and information they wish to teach in assignments (questions and tasks) students will find fascinating—authentic tasks that will arouse curiosity, challenging students to rethink their assumptions and examine their mental models of reality.”
how do the best teachers prepare to teach
How Do the Best TeachersPrepare to Teach?
  • They ask/answer questions
  • But not so much
    • “What book will I use?”
    • “What will in I include in my lectures?”
  • But rather
    • “What should my students be able to do … as a result of my teaching?”
    • “How can I best help and encourage them …?”
    • “How can my students and I best understand the nature, quality, and progress of their learning?”
    • “How can I evaluate my efforts to foster … learning?”
what do the best teachers expect of their students
What Do the Best TeachersExpect of Their Students?
  • They “look for and appreciate the individual value of each student.”
  • They have “great faith in students’ ability to achieve.”
  • They set high standards AND provide assurance that they can reach them.
  • “… the best teaching can be found not in particular practices or rules but in the attitudes of the teachers, in their faith in their students’ abilities to achieve, in their willingness to take their students seriously and to let them assume control of their own education, and in their commitment to let all policies and practices flow from central learning objectives and from a mutual respect and agreement between students and teachers.”
what do the best teachers do when they teach
What Do the Best TeachersDo When They Teach?
  • They create “a natural critical learning environment.”
    • Natural: things to be learned are embedded in fascinating, authentic tasks.
    • Critical ~ critical thinking involved
  • NCL Environment
    • Intriguing question
    • Guidance (to understand the significance of the question)
    • Higher order intellectual activity (compare, analyze, synthesize)
    • Ends with a question (“What can we ask now?”)
  • Can present in a variety of wayseven lectures
  • “The best teachers didn’t ask students to discuss readings; they provoked or guided them into discussing ideas, issues, or problems that some article or chapter might help them approach.”
how do the best teachers treat students
How Do the Best TeachersTreat Students?
  • With an attitude that we are all human beings—struggling with the mysteries of ______ (e.g. discovering new ideas and communicating them to others).
  • “When they assess their students, they do so, in part, to test their own efforts.”
    • It’s possible to ace tests without learning.
    • “Our job is not to find ability, but rather to encourage its development.”
summary call to action
Summary – Call to Action
  • “When [excellent teachers] evaluate their teaching, they do so by looking at learning … outcomes.”
  • “Excellent teachers develop their abilities through constant self-evaluation, reflection, and the willingness to change.”