Friday, 17 May 2013

How do the best teachers prepare to teach?

How do the best teachers prepare to teach?
Taken from "What the Best College Teachers Do" by Ken Bain

1. What big questions will my course help students answer, or what skills, abilities, or qualities will it help them develop, and how will I encourage my students' interest in these questions and abilities?

2. What reasoning abilities must students have or develop to answer the questions that the course raises?

3. What mental models are students likely to bring with them that I will want them to challenge? How can I help them construct that intellectual challenge?

4. What information will my students need to understand in order to answer the important questions of the course and challenge their assumptions? How will they best obtain that information?

5. How will I help students who have difficulty understanding the questions and using evidence and reason to answer them?

6. How will I confront my students with conflicting problems (maybe even conflicting claims about the truth) and encourage them to grapple (perhaps collaboratively) with the issues?

7. How will I find out what they know already and what they expect from the course, and how ill I reconcile any differences between my expectations and theirs?

8. How will I help students learn to learn, to examine and assess their own learning and thinking, and to read more effectively, analytically, and actively?

9. How will I find out how students are learning before assessing them, and how will I provide feedback before--and separate from--any assessment of them?

10. How will I communicate with students in a way that will keep them thinking?

11. How will I spell out the intellectual and professional standards I will be using in assessing students' work, and why do I use those standards? How will I help students learn to assess their own work using those standards?

12. How will the students and I best understand the nature, progress, and quality of their learning?

13. How will I create a natural critical learning environment in which I embed the skills and information I wish to teach in assignments (questions and tasks) that students will find fascinating--authentic tasks that will arouse curiosity, challenge students to rethink their assumptions and examine their mental models of reality? How will I create a safe environment in which students can try, fail, receive feedback, and try again?