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.
In “Student Engagement and Learning,” Jillian Kinzie presents an overview of the current research on student engagement and learning. She concludes that when students are engaged, they are usually learning—and vice versa. In other words, “Engaging pedagogies matter . . .” (p. 151).
Few readers of Academically Adrift have missed the significance of Arum and Roksa’s claims about how little students learn. But too many overlook what they say about how to improve.
To say the least, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa have made waves in higher education with their book Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2010), a national, longitudinal, quantitative study of student learning in the first-two years of college in the U.S. The question driving the study is: “How much are students actually learning in contemporary higher education?” The overarching finding is unsettling. “The answer for many undergraduates,” Arum and Roksa conclude, “is not much” (p. 34).
When I say that the recent scholarship on teaching literature includes the most interesting and significant work currently going on in higher education, readers should know that I am (wildly!) […]
In Our Underachieving Colleges, Derek Bok relates the rather incredible story of how Eric Mazur, a Harvard physicist, discovered a serious but hidden problem with his teaching and, as a result, changed […]