A large and growing body of research and theoretical literature suggests that not all students intend to learn deeply. Surface learners want to survive, to pass the course, and often try only to memorize enough to do so. Strategic learners predominately seek to make the highest marks. But neither of those two groups are always trying to learn deeply. Only the deep learners will focus on understanding ideas and concepts, on applications and implications, on making connections and developing new theories. Only the deep learners are likely to become adaptive and inventive experts, willing and able to tackle and solve novel problems and transfer across different situations. Many of the traditional practices in education seem to foster strategic learning at best, even among students of high natural intellectual ability. How do the best teachers create learning environments in which deep learning is most likely to emerge? In this interactive session, we'll explore some of the emerging approaches, fostering a rich conversation and exchange of ideas and bringing practices from other institutions into play.
Ken Bain spent much of his academic career at Vanderbilt, Northwestern, and NYU, before becoming Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Professor of History and Urban Education (National Center for Urban Education), University of the District of Columbia, a post he left in July 2013. He was the founding director of four major teaching and learning centers: the Center for Teaching Excellence at New York University, the Searle Center for Teaching Excellence at Northwestern University, the Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University, and the Research Academy for University Learning at Montclair University. In the 1970's and early 80's he was Professor of History at the University of Texas--Pan American, where he also served as director of that school's University Honors Program and as founding director of the History Teaching Center, a pioneering program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities to promote greater collaboration between history teachers on the secondary level and university and college research historians. From 1984 to 1986, he served as director of the National History Teaching Center, which had a similar mission on the national level.
His now classic book What the Best College Teachers Do. (Harvard University Press, 2004) won the 2004 Virginia and Warren Stone Prize for an outstanding book on education and society, and has been one of the top selling books on higher education. It has been translated into twelve languages and was the subject of an award-winning television documentary series in 2007. The sequel, What the Best College Students Do, also from Harvard University Press, won the Virginia and Warren Stone Prize in 2012, and has become an international best seller.
He has won four major teaching awards, including a teacher-of-the-year award, faculty nomination for the Minnie Piper Foundation Award for outstanding college teacher in Texas in 1980 and 1981, and Honors Professor of the Year Awards in 1985 and 1986. A 1990 national publication named him one of the best teachers in the United States. He has received awards from the Harry S Truman Library, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the International Studies Association, among others. He is currently completing his third book on U.S. relations with the Middle East (The Last Journey Home: Franklin Roosevelt and the Middle East). He is also working on three books in the "Best" series: What the Best College Administrators Do, What the Best Online Teachers Do, and What the Best K-12 Teachers Do.