Thursday, November 13, 2014

Professors’ Place in the Classroom Is Shifting to the Side

The Chronicle of Higher Education
November 13th, 2014

Professors have long made assumptions about their place in the classroom.
They have seen themselves as the experts whose job is to transmit a body of knowledge, typically through a lecture. Students are there to absorb content. If they fail, it’s their fault.
The lecture hall expresses that dynamic physically. Seats—sometimes hundreds of them—are arranged in raked rows facing a spot for the professor who, like the featured act in a show, is the only one in the room doing anything worth paying attention to.
After years of exhortations for faculty members to become guides on the side instead of sages on stage, those assumptions are shifting, and they carry consequences that could be significant for professors and students.
"Nationally, we’re seeing more of a move to student-centered teaching," said Kevin Eagan, an assistant professor in residence at the University of California at Los Angeles. He is also interim managing director of the Higher Education Research Institute, which produces a triennial faculty survey that was released on Thursday.

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