Successful Classroom Learning

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.

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About Doug Bennett

Doug Bennett is Emeritus President and Professor of Politics at Earlham College. He has a wife, Ellen, and two sons, Tommy (born 1984) and Robbie (born 2003).
This entry was posted in Assessment, Learning, Money Matters. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Successful Classroom Learning

  1. Tom Smith says:

    40 years ago my doctoral study was trying to develop uses of the computer in an interactive way to help in the assessment of student’s “concept attainment.” It seemed such a useful and efficient way to assess where students are. I also developed my beliefs about classroom practice with my “motto” – “Teaching is what the student does.”

    I believe that what is written about the college classroom can in most instances be true of any classroom.

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