Amid the wide-ranging public debate about the future of higher education is a tension about the role of the faculty as instructors versus researchers and the role of teaching in the mission of a university. What is absent from that discourse is any clear understanding of what constitutes good teaching in college. In Convergent Teaching, masterful professors of education Aaron M. Pallas and Anna Neumann make the case that American higher education must hold fast to its core mission of fostering learning and growth for all people.
Arguing that colleges and universities do this best through their teaching function, the book portrays teaching as a professional practice that teachers should actively hone. Drawing on rich research on K–12 classroom teaching, the authors develop the novel idea of convergent teaching, an approach that attends simultaneously to what students are learning and the personal, social, and cultural contexts shaping this process. Convergent teaching, they write, spurs teachers to join students' cognitions with the students' emotions and identities as they learn. Offering new ways to think about how college teachers can support and advance their students' learning of core disciplinary ideas, Pallas and Neumann outline targeted actions that campus administrators, public policy makers, and foundation leaders can take to propel such efforts. Vivid examples of instructors enacting three key principles—targeting, surfacing, and navigating—help bring the idea of convergent teaching to life.
Full of research-based, practical ideas for better teaching and learning, Convergent Teaching presents numerous instances of successful campus-based initiatives. It also sets a bold agenda for disciplinary organizations, philanthropies, and the federal government to support teaching improvement. This book will challenge higher education students while motivating college administrators and faculty to enact change on their campuses.
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