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Good Practice in Undergraduate Education Cheat Sheet by

education     practice     good     undergraduate

Introd­uction A Focus for Improv­ement

These seven principles are not set in stone. They are intended as guidelines for faculty members, students, and admini­str­ators, with support from state agencies and trustees, to improve teaching and learning. These principles seem like good common sense, and they are. They rest on 50 years of research on the way teachers teach and students learn, how students work and play with one another, and how students and faculty talk to each other.

While each practice can stand alone on its own, when all are present their effects multiply. Together they employ six powerful forces in education:
Seven Principles for Good Practice in Underg­raduate Education
Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson
Adopted from the March 1987 AAHE Bulletin

Whose Respon­sib­ility Is It?

Teachers and students hold the main respon­sib­ility for improving underg­raduate education. But they need a lot of help. College and university leaders, state and federal officials, and accred­iting associ­ations have the power to shape an enviro­nment that is favorable to good practice in higher education.

What qualities must this enviro­nment have?
A strong sense of shared purposes.
Concrete support from admini­str­ators and faculty leaders for those purposes.
Adequate funding approp­riate for the purposes.
Policies and procedures consistent with the purposes.
Continuing examin­ation of how well the purposes are being achieved.

Encour­aging good practices

States, Federal government and accred­iting associ­ations can encourage enviro­nments for good practice in underg­raduate education by:
Setting policies that are consistent with good practice in underg­raduate education.
Holding high expect­ations for instit­utional perfor­mance.
Keeping bureau­cratic regula­tions to a minimum that is compatible with public accoun­tab­ility.
Allocating adequate funds for new underg­raduate programs and the profes­sional develo­pment of faculty members, admini­str­ators, and staff.
Encouraging employment of under-­rep­res­ented groups among admini­str­ators, faculty members, and student services profes­sio­nals.
Providing the support for programs, facili­ties, and financial aid necessary for good practice in underg­raduate education.

Seven Principles for Good Practice in Education

1. Encourage Contact Between Students and Faculty
Frequent studen­t-f­aculty contact in and out of classes is the most important factor in student motivation and involv­ement. Faculty concern helps students get through rough times and keep on working. Knowing a few faculty members well enhances students’ intell­ectual commitment and encourages them to think about their own values and future plans.

2. Develop Recipr­ocity and Cooper­ation Among Students
Learning is enhanced when it is more like a team effort that a solo race. Good learning, like good work, is collab­orative and social, not compet­itive and isolated. Working with others often increases involv­ement in learning. Sharing one’s own ideas and responding to others’ reactions sharpens thinking and deepens unders­tan­ding.

3. Encourage Active Learning
Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just by sitting in classes listening to teachers, memorizing pre-pa­ckaged assign­ments, and spitting out answers. They must talk about what they are learning, write about it, relate it to past experi­ences and apply it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of themse­lves.

4. Give Prompt Feedback
Knowing what you know and don’t know focuses learning. Students need approp­riate feedback on perfor­mance to benefit from courses. When getting started, students need help in assessing existing knowledge and compet­ence. In classes, students need frequent opport­unities to perform and receive sugges­tions for improv­ement. At various points during college, and at the end, students need chances to reflect on what they have learned, what they still need to know, and how to assess themse­lves.

5. Emphasize Time on Task
Time plus energy equals learning. There is no substitute for time on task. Learning to use one’s time well is critical for students and profes­sionals alike. Students need help in learning effective time manage­ment. Allocating realistic amounts of time means effective learning for students and effective teaching for faculty. How an instit­ution defines time expect­ations for students, faculty, admini­str­ators, and other profes­sional staff can establish the basis of high perfor­mance for all.

6. Commun­icate High Expect­ati­ons
Expect more and you will get more. High expect­ations are important for everyone – for the poorly prepared, for those unwilling to exert themse­lves, and for the bright and well motivated. Expecting students to perform well becomes a self-f­ulf­illing prophecy when teachers and instit­utions hold high expect­ations for themselves and make extra efforts.

7. Respect Diverse Talents and Ways of Learning
There are many roads to learning. People bring different talents and styles of learning to college. Brilliant students in the seminar room may be all thumbs in the lab or art studio. Students rich in hands-on experience may not do so well with theory. Students need the opport­unity to show their talents and learn in ways that work for them. Then they can be pushed to learn in new ways that do not come so easily.

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