1. Good practice encourages contact between students and faculty
2. Good practice develops reciprocity and cooperation among students
3. Good practice encourages active learning
4. Good practice gives prompt feedback
5. Good practice emphasizes time on task
6. Good practice communicates high expectations
7. Good practice respects diverse talents and ways of learning
Chickering and Gamson (1987) have recommended seven different practices in undergraduate education to improve both teaching and learning. These key principles are based off of 50 years of educational research and were compiled in a study supported by the American Association of Higher Education, the Education Commission of States, and the Johnson Foundation. The way in which each principle is implemented may vary based on institutional setting, subject matter, or student population.
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.
|Get to Know your Students|
Learning is enhanced when it is more like a team effort than 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 improves thinking and deepens understanding.
|Benefits and Challenges of Groups|
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.
|Engage with Discussions|
Knowing what you know and don’t know focuses learning. Students need appropriate feedback on performance to benefit from courses. In 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.
|Applicable Assessment and Feedback|
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 for high performance for all.
- Clearly communicate the minimum amount of time that students should be spending outside of class with readings, assignments, and studying
- Have set due dates for assignments
- Require students to make up any missed work, but clearly indicate the late acceptance grading policy
- Tell students that poor time management is one of the top reasons for lack of academic achievement
- Encourage students to put important deadlines and exam dates for every class on a calendar that they refer to daily
- Provide a weekly reading schedule and stress that it’s easier to divide the readings up through the week than try to read all of it at one time
- Encourage students to use their "dead time" for studying; take flashcards to study while waiting for the bus, for example
- Model time management to students by being prepared, starting class on time, and returning work or exams as quickly as possible
- Set realistic expectations based on the amount of time in the course; create assignments and readings relevant to learning, not just busy work to take up time
Expect more and you will get it. 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 of themselves and make extra efforts.
|Set High Expectations|
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 learning in new ways
- Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education: Applications for the Classroom (PDF) - Bartlett, Patti. Montgomery College Center for Teaching and Learning.
- Classroom Activities for Active Learning. UNC Chapel Hill Center for Teaching and Learning.
- Applying the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education - Codde, J.R. Michigan State University.
- Helping Students Learn. University of Georgia Center for Teaching and Learning.
- "Seven Principles" Collection of Ideas for Teaching and Learning with Technology. The TLT Group.
- The Guided Discussion. UNC Chapel Hill Center for Teaching and Learning.