The experience raised a basic question in my mind: What do people think professors do to deserve teaching awards? It defines the kind of teachers we strive to become.
For institutions, the answer determines the kind of teaching that is rewarded with tenure and promotion (at least at places that don’t focus exclusively on research).
Consciously or not, learning-driven teachers are concerned with an array of factors that influence student learning.
For example, they manage the class’s collective attention, monitor metacognitive awareness, respect the constraints of working memory and promote transfer-appropriate processing, even if these teachers are unaware of the formal names of such concepts.
If students don’t learn, teaching is not successful, regardless of how brilliant and engaging the teacher might be.
A learning-driven approach can be contrasted with an information-driven approach to teaching.
These teachers are able to assess the level of understanding of students and recognize how to move that understanding toward a desired learning goal.
The ability to accomplish all these tasks defines teaching skill.
I heard him tell one of his colleagues, “This is my last commencement, it would be really nice if I won the teaching award.” I was stunned.
How could someone being forced into retirement for abusive practices believe he might be chosen as the outstanding teacher?