The Chronicle of Higher Education
April 13th, 2015
Last month I wrote about the attributes of the very best teachers,
with the goal of identifying for young faculty members, in particular,
the qualities they ought to emulate and cultivate. Several readers
complained that my focus was too much on the teacher and not enough on
Fair enough. This month I’ll try to answer two questions: What do
students need in order to learn? And how can we as teachers provide
For the record, my aim here is not to rewrite Bloom’s Taxonomy,
(mis)appropriate portions of it, or step on its toes. For its purpose —
identifying the different ways in which students learn — the taxonomy
cannot really be improved upon. I’m trying to do something different:
Establish the fundamental conditions that must exist if people are to
learn, drawing on my five decades as a student, teacher, and parent.
I’ve come up with seven conditions.