Saturday, January 16, 2010

He Wrote the Book on Teaching, Learning, and Research

Wilbert "Bill" McKeachie shares lessons from his 60 years of teaching, research, and learning in a 2009 interview here, He literally "wrote the book", the first one, on research-based teaching and learning in 1951. Teaching Tips has been updated 12 times, the latest one in 2007. (I own the 8th edition from 1986.) McKeachie also founded the first teaching and learning center in the USA in 1960 at the Univ. of Michigan. He was a psychology professor. From the above-cited interview of him at age 88, I've culled a few teaching tips...

Three Tips on Becoming a Better Teacher
  1. Genuinely care about your students and their learning. Learn their names. Spend time with them after class, over coffee or tea. Share your passion for learning.
  2. Talk about how to improve your teaching with colleagues and students. Elicit student evaluations about one month into the course rather than at the end. Discuss student concerns in class and be willing to adjust your teaching.
  3. Maintain enthusiasm for teaching by accepting new challenges, teaching new subjects, and staying current with student culture.

Professor McKeachie has inspired a countless number of teachers over his long career and shown us how to improve our teaching. I plan to buy the latest edition of his book asap, which, by the way, is now a collaborative effort covering many new topics.

People inspire people. Who has inpired you to be a better teacher? How so?

1 comment:

Todd Nelson said...

Teaching Tips has just come out in its 13th edition, on Jan 1, 2010. I learned recently that it is the classic textbook for teacher training in North America, and has been since its initial publication. For example, Duke University in the US requires it in its current Intro to College Teaching course.

The KDU library will soon have two copies of the latest edition.

I've had the privilege of corresponding with Dr McKeachie recently. At 88 he and his wife are still in good health.