College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Liberal Arts Matters

Because Ideas Matter...

The faculty and staff of Butler University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences presents

Recommended Readings

What -best -tchrs -do What the Best College Teachers Do

by Ken Bain, Harvard University Press, 2004

Reviewed by Liliana Torres-Goens

What do you recall about your favorite college teachers?  Ken Bain researched the strategies of some of the very best college teachers in the country and found that what they had in common was a reflective approach to teaching which more effectively facilitates student learning.   I found his work and the approach to teaching described to be fascinating and engaging.   The core concept outlines how teachers should develop a student-centered learning approach, where emphasis is placed on the students and their needs, rather than on extensive lesson plans and unreachable course goals.   The book was recognized by Harvard University Press when it was the awarded "Virginia and Warren Stone Prize".

Bain explains that this learning process needs to be insightful so that creating a lasting impact on students is the ultimate goal.  Classroom environments should be respectful and trusting while allowing for the student to be the primary emphasis of the class. Teachers should foster critical thinking, reasoning skills and self evaluation methods to demonstrate to the students the relevance of what they are learning.   Allowing them to judge the quality of their work is imperative to them developing an appreciation for their own learning.

This book, a product of years of research in universities and colleges, contains examples of teachers who will remind you of your favorite college professors and why they were so important for your learning.

"What the Best College Teachers Do" is a book that will is helpful to college teachers, but also insight for current and former college students.  It will remind you of those teachers who made a difference in your life..

- Liliana Torres-Goens is Instructor of Spanish at Butler University.