How do good teachers prepare to teach? This is the second question asked by Ken Bain in his excellent new book on teaching: What the Best College Teachers Do.
The traditional model focuses on what the teacher does and not what the student learns. The latter asks what students can “do intellectually.” Do you “teach” your own kids “what” they need to know or do you think of what you want them to be able to do and so teach them how to do that? Big question for parents; big question for pastors; big question for teachers.
Bain finds 13 features and I want to give some of them today and more Wednesday:
1. Good teachers plan backwards: from what they want students to be able to do. How do we encourage students to answer big questions and develop skills to do that?
2. What reasoning abilities do students need to answer this in this course?
3. What mental models do our students bring to the table and how can we help them in our challenge to those mental models?
4. What information is needed and what is the best way to gain that information?
5. How can we help students who will struggle with the questions of the course and with the methods needed to answer those questions?
6. How do we help students comprehend various views of the subject and grapple with the issues? Good teachers bring these conflicts into the class.