November 3, 2011
In what appears to be an invitation to read his forthcoming book (Completing College; Rethinking Institutional Action; University of Chicago Press), Vincent Tinto today urges a renewed focus on classroom learning and lays out attributes of classrooms where successful student learning is most likely to take place. The essay appears in Inside Higher Ed.
What are the attributes of such classrooms? Says Tinto, “Generally speaking, they can be described by the terms expectations, support, assessment and feedback, and involvement. Unlike the attributes of students, these are within the grasp of institutions to modify if they are serious about enhancing student success.”
Worth reading especially as a summary of what we know about classroom learning. There are few surprises, though he does point to some fresh techniques regarding assessment. And he hammers home the point that we know much more about successful classrooms than we have broadly implemented. Doing what he describes would require a great deal of change on the part of colleges and universities.
Worth thinking about as you read his description of successful classrooms: can successful classroom learning be provided cheaply? What he describes and documents are practices that require sustained, caring attention on the part of well-prepared teachers. This can’t be provided cheaply.