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What the Best College Teachers Do

Ken Bain

ISBN 9780674013254

Publication date: 04/30/2004

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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, Ken 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.

Praise

  • [What the Best College Teachers Do] remains for me the single most inspiring and thought-provoking work in the field. Bain’s deep analysis of the teaching attitudes and practices of a small cohort of outstanding teachers, buttressed by research from the learning sciences and narrated in lively prose, provides multiple models for college educators to reflect upon, discuss, and emulate. Nine years after its initial publication, it continues to stimulate my own continuing meditations on teaching.

    —James M. Lang, Chronicle of Higher Education

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.

Book Details

  • 224 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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