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Helping Students Learn in a Learner-Centered Environment
A Guide to Facilitating Learning in Higher Education
Paper: 978 1 57922 222 2 / $27.50
Published: September 2008
Cloth: 978 1 57922 221 5 / $95.00
Published: September 2008
6" x 9"
Before entering higher education, most students’ learning experiences have been traditional and teacher-centered. Their teachers have typically controlled their learning, with students having had little say about what and how to learn. For many students, encountering a learner-centered environment will be new, possibly unsettling, and may even engender resistance and hostility.
Taking as his starting point students’ attitudes toward, and unfamiliarity with, learner-centered classrooms, Terry Doyle explains that motivating students to engage with this practice first of all requires explaining its underlying rationale, and then providing guidance on how to learn in this environment. This book is about how to help students acquire the new skills and knowledge they need to take on unfamiliar roles and responsibilities. It is informed by the author’s extensive experience in managing learner-centered classes, and by his consultation work with faculty.
The first four chapters focus on the importance of imparting to students the evidence and underlying philosophy that is driving higher education to move from a teacher-centered to a learner-centered practice, and what this means for students in terms of having control over, and making important choices about, their learning. The final eight chapters focus on how to impart the skills that students need to learn or hone if they are to be effective learners in an environment that is new to them. The book covers such practices as learning on one’s own; creating meaningful learning when collaborating with others; peer teaching; making presentations; developing life long learning skills; self and peer evaluation; and give meaningful feedback.
This book provides a rich and informative answer to the fundamental question: how do I help my students adjust to a learner-centered practice?
Table of Contents:
Foreword; Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1) Optimizing Students’ Learning; 2) Why Students Resist Learner-Centered Teaching; 3) Creating Relevance for a Learner-Centered Practice; 4) Putting Students’ Learning into the Context of Current Learning Theory; 5) Promoting Independent Learning; 6) Communication Skills for Working With Peers; 7) Helping Students Take Charge of Their Learning; 8) When Students Teach One Another; 9) Presentations and Performance Assessments; 10) Becoming Lifelong Learners; 11) Helping Students Recognize What They Know, Don’t Know, and Misunderstand; 12) Student Evaluations—Themselves, Others, and the Teacher; Appendix A: Research Report Writing and Reading Assignments Report Writing; Appendix B: Problem-Solving Process; Appendix C: Feedback Rubric; Appendix D: Sample Rubrics; Appendix E: Student Background Questionnaire; Appendix F: Websites on Learning How to Give Effective Criticism; References; Index.
Reviews & Endorsements:
"Doyle offers a great deal of practical advice on how to prepare students to engage in student-centered learning activities... the book contains many useful tips as well as appendices which provide rubrics and other helpful resources."
- Teaching Theology and Religion
“Oh boy, am I glad this book is here. Terry Doyle has explored and integrated a wide range of literature on learning. His book brings together findings that will enable us to answer what so many college & university faculty members want to know: How do we enable our students to learn to learn (and love it)? If your goal is to develop lifelong learners, this book is a guidebook for your practice."
- Laurie Richlin, Director, Preparing Future Faculty & Faculty Learning Communities Programs, Claremont Graduate University
“He is urging us not only to take a brain-based approach to teaching, but to show our students how their brains and memories work so that they can understand how to learn most effectively. He grapples with the hardest challenges that classroom teachers face when they try to give students responsibility for their own learning."
- from the Foreword by John Tagg
“This book is brilliant in that it does three things very simply and without unnecessary complexity: it explains why learner-centered environments should be used, how to create them (complete with how to sell students on an approach that will actually help them), and how to tell when students are learning.
What is different about this book is that Terry Doyle outlines WHY students will resist this change. His point-by-point guidance on creating a learner-centered classroom incorporates a strategy for bringing the students along as willing participants.
I see this book as a great read for experienced faculty who want to figure out a new way to construct a less lecture-based classroom environment, and for new faculty who need tips on how to teach well in a learner-centered environment. I have been teaching for 20 years and have been a faculty developer for the past 10 and, even with all of that experience, I still learned several things in reading this book.”
- Todd Zakrajsek, Director of the Faculty Center for Innovative Teaching at Central Michigan University
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