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What the Best College Teachers Do
Format: HardcoverChange
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Showing 1-2 of 2 reviews(2 star)show all reviews
43 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2006
This book had some good insight. The emphasis on creating a community conducive to learning, while not novel, is important. I think, or at least hope, that the author was well-intended. However, most of the ideas were jumbled, inconsistent and presented in a highly condescending manner. The most annoying approach was creating a straw man, followed by destroying the straw man, and concluding with some statement to the tune of "now thay we've shown ...." Of course all Bain has shown is that some idea that most thoughtful instructors never considered a possibility is actually ... not a possibility. Often he would, later in the text, argue that he's proven something about good or bad instructors. As an example, in Chapter 4, "Recall that we found [in chapter 2] many less successful instructors who think of memory as a storage unit and intelligence as the capacity to use the information in that tank." Realistically, I suspect that most instructors are a lilttle bit more thoughtful about what constitutes intelligence. I found his shallow dualistic view of education demeaning to the intelligence of instructors and students.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2013
This book does not tell you how to be a good teacher. This book tells you how to convince other people that you're a good teacher. If you're writing an essay in support of your teaching award application, then this book is for you. If you're thinking about how to be better at you job as a teacher, then find a different book.

This book starts with the conceit that the author found good teachers by finding prize-winning teachers. How many of your best teachers won teaching prizes? My experience is that the best teachers don't seek out this type of acknowledgement. My experience is that the best teachers, much like the best students, and for that matter the best workers in most fields, are largely focused and anonymous.

And it wouldn't have been hard to find these people. It was the author's choice to skip the hard work of determining teaching effectiveness and instead find subjects with a cultivated pedigree.
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