Showing posts from June, 2012

Asking them in

My standard for any academic conference is the acquisition of at least one good idea, which seems a fairly low bar, but I've been doing this job for a spell.  Academic conferences these days are more likely to flesh out ideas rather than introduce them.  Even so, you do sometimes run across something really new and worthwhile.

That was the case last week when I spent three days at the Best Teacher's Summer Institute, an annual conference based upon the work of Ken Bain, a historian who studied the approaches used by college professors identified by evaluations, colleagues and students as the "best of the best."   He hoped to discover whether they were more alike than different. 

It turns out that good professors take quite similar approaches to teaching regardless of their subject, personality or training, all of which which Bain wrote about in his book What the Best College Teachers Do.   Here's one example: good professors tend to introduce their subjects as i…