Getting Students to Talk to Each Other, Rather than the Teacher

In class discussions, students often speak only to the teacher—and the teacher responds to every point. Inspired by Stephen D. Brookfield and Stephen Preskill’s Discussion as a Way of Teaching, I’ve written a structured protocol for class discussion that gets students talking to each other. So far, it’s leads to much more give-and-take among students.

Read Article →

Students Don’t Go to College to Learn

Teachers may romanticize or villainize students based on conjecture, personal experience, and anecdotal observations. But for the most part we remain in the dark about what students actually do and want. In My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student (Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 2005), Rebekah Nathan moves us beyond speculation and gives us a useful portrait of college students’ lives, reporting on her observations during a year-long “undercover” anthropological study of college culture. This portrait includes bad news, good news, and an overall more complex and informed way of understanding students.

Read Article →