Review: Effective Teaching in Higher Education
Brown and Madeleine Atkins. London: Routledge, 1990.
Reviewed by Mark Salata,Graduate Student Associate, TRC and Departments
of Biology and Education
Teaching in Higher Education contains a wealth of information
for the academician or academician-to-be. Supporting their contentions
with research findings, Brown and Atkins focus on strategies to
improve the principal modes of teaching employed in the academy
the early chapters Brown and Atkins provide a balanced reflection
about lecturing, a format that is all too often considered a one-way
communication tool. The authors define, model, and analyze lecturing,
taking into account the comments of both lecturers and students.
They then discuss how to create an effective lecture, keeping
in mind content and learning objectives. They describe some creative
lecture styles and provide samples of student-evaluation and instructor
self-evaluation tools that can be used at various times through
the semester to improve lectures.
authors follow much the same format in considering various ways
to conduct small group work. They offer insights into how instructors
can make the best use of discussions, seminars, mini-presentations,
problem-solving, case studies, simulations, and games. They stress
the importance of preparation and assessment as key elements
in maximizing the potential of small-group instruction.
the chapters on laboratory teaching, Brown and Atkins not only
offer a variety of helpful suggestions, but also discuss techniques
to evaluate learning in a lab setting. They also provide a helpful
guide to constructing lab manuals.
this book's more unusual features is a chapter that deals
with mentoring graduate students. This
section elucidates the dynamic between mentors and graduate students,
and would be especially valuable for those at the beginning of
their faculty careers or graduate studies.
later chapters focus on strategies that empower students to learn
for themselves. This section outlines how instructors can provide
the learning tools and direction that enable students to master
content on their own terms.
the most valuable aspect of this Effective Teaching in Higher
Education is that the authors follow their own advice. Each
chapter includes questions and scenarios designed to cause instructors
to ponder: how can I implement these strategies? If you are ready
to wrestle with such questions, this book can help you.