This week we look again at What the Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain.  The nature of the material this week seem poignant to me as it brings back some of my best memories and ideas of days gone by.  First to the review.

In this chapter Bain raises the idea that the best, and he  really means best in this chapter, college teachers treat their students differently.  Through stories, first and other hand, he compares those who are good to those who are best by showing how they treat their students makes a difference.  This treatment is small things to make sure that people do not feel like the teacher is arrogant or everything is about their power.

I can think of two different lecturers/tutors I know who if I remember right basically had the same office a few years apart.  One of them hated students and I always thought his opinion was that teaching would be better without students.  The other one I am starting to think of differently.  He was a little difficult to get to and hard to have a chat to but he did share his power in class.  One day I can remember him bringing in a bottle of Liquid Lamington (see here for a brief mention of this 1980s pink alcoholic drink) and some small cups to share around.  Nowadays we would have OH&S concerns.  Other times I remember him giving up his blackboard so we could show the answers to something.  He truly behaved as if his students mattered.  Years later I had him for a series of lectures when he had gone to Oxford and I was working at where he had taught.  He still called me by last name and I still called him Dr Sanders, we were both ribbing each other but it reminds me that as Bain says it is not about dress or manner but how the lecturer treats the students.

For this week I will leave you with a quote in the middle of the chapter (p145).

Instead they tried to take their students seriously as human beings and treated them the way they might treat any colleague, with fairness, compassion and concern.

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