What If Students Read the Scholarship?

Students are the most important of the constituencies affected by whether or not the scholarship on teaching and learning is read and put into practice in our colleges and universities. So what if they were to read about the kinds of learning experiences they could be having?

Many students may know that they aren’t getting what they are supposed to be getting, without knowing how it could be otherwise. Some of these students go on to become administrators, legislators, parents, and even teachers who will, consequently, make decisions about higher education without knowing enough, either experientially or through reading, about the best aims and methods of an authentic higher education.

It seems like a good idea to let students know that an important body of research and theory on teaching and learning exists and to give them samples of it from time to time, quotes from favorite scholars, excerpts from important essays and books, and so on. Though students may not have the political power to enact meaningful reform, some of them may develop hunger for more meaningful learning.

That, in fact, is how I came to know about the scholarship on teaching and learning, how I came to be unsatisfied with the status quo, and even an important part of how I learned to learn. One of my undergraduate professors gave me work by Peter Elbow, Donald Murray, and Mike Rose. I’ve not been the same since.

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