Home > Teaching & Learning > A Historian Devotes Himself to Urging, and Guiding, Colleagues to Teach Better

A Historian Devotes Himself to Urging, and Guiding, Colleagues to Teach Better

By Peter Monaghan

Listening to historians is what got Kenneth R. Bain, the first fellow of the Andrew W. Mellon Teaching and Learning Institute at Bryn Mawr College, interested in how students learn. “Frankly,” he says, “I had some colleagues who had Ph.D.’s in history who couldn’t think historically. Their whole approach was just to memorize endless pieces of information.” Along with being a historian who has written several books on 20th-century political history, Mr. Bain, 69, is an expert on how learning takes place at universities, and how academics and administrators can foster better teaching.

This academic year he is passing his insights on to 12 faculty members from Bryn Mawr and nearby Haverford College. Among his ideas: Allow students to work together and to revise their work before grading. Generate assignments that intrigue them, prompt them to learn material thoroughly, and become habituated to disciplinary modes of thought. Be aware not only of the nuances of disciplinary thinking, but also of the social, political, and economic forces that influence learning.

Continued at: http://chronicle.com/article/A-Historian-Devotes-Himself-to/126520/

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