Grow the 8% (Infographic)

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Grow the 8%

I. What Do College Students Learn?

Information and ideas?

Immediately after a lecture, students in one study could only recall 42 percent of the material presented.1

One week after the lecture, these students could only recall 20 percent.2

Years after a lecture course, students in another study only knew a little more than those who never took the class.3

Skills and abilities?

Only just over half of students in one study made any improvement in writing and critical thinking in the first two years of college.4

(Most improved only marginally. But another study suggests they will likely improve even less during the rest of college.)5

II. How Do College Teachers Teach?

Teaching methods?

Only about a quarter of professors in one study reported using something other than “lectures as their primary method of instruction.”6

Teaching knowledge?

Only 8 percent of professors in another study reported taking “any account of research on teaching and learning in preparing their classes.”7 We need to grow this.

(Many of whom relied on outdated research.)8

III. What Can College Teachers Do?

Why not read at least one good book on teaching & learning each year?

Most graduate schools don’t adequately prepare future professors to teach. Most colleges and universities don’t adequately encourage, support, and fund ongoing improvement in teaching. That has to change.9

But in the meantime . . .

Worthwhile and widely-regarded texts include:

John Tagg, The Learning Paradigm College (2003)

L. Dee Fink, Creating Significant Learning Experiences (2003)

Maryellen Weimer, Learner-Centered Teaching (2013)

John C. Bean, Engaging Ideas (2011)

Rebekah Nathan, My Freshman Year (2005)

And books by Parker Palmer, Ken Bain, Susan A. Ambrose et al., John D. Bransford et al., Barbara G. Davis, Donald L. Finkel, and Wilbert J. Mckeachie . . .

IV. References

As with all measurements of human activities as complex as teaching and learning, the specific numbers provided above are subject to legitimate debate among researchers and may have shifted somewhat since the studies were conducted. Nonetheless, the general picture conveyed remains accurate.

1. Cited in L. Dee Fink, Creating Significant Learning Experiences (Jossey‑Bass, 2003), p. 4.

2. Cited in Derek Bok, Our Underachieving Colleges (Princeton UP, 2006), p. 120.

3. Cited in Fink, p. 4.

4. Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, Academically Adrift (U Chicago P, 2011), p. 36.

5. Cited in Arum and Roksa, p. 36.

6. Cited in Fink, p. 3.

7. Cited in Bok, p. 50.

8. Same as previous note.

9. See Mike Rose, “Time to Help College Professors Be Better Teachers,” The Christian Science Monitor (March 22, 2013).

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