Teach for Understanding Rather than Exposure

Tomorrow’s Professor eNewsletter posted a great piece recently on Effective Teaching Behaviors, particularly for at-risk students. The first suggestion presents a pretty powerful challenge for faculty teaching courses in which “coverage” often drives the experience. Is it possible to re-examine that assumption, particularly for classes where passing a certifying exam isn’t relevant?

Often, teachers teach for exposure rather than in-depth understanding.  To teach for understanding, teachers reduce textbook information to a few areas of critical understanding and design and present instruction around big ideas.  Teachers can ask themselves questions such as “If my students only take one idea away from this unit, what would that be?”  “What do I want them to remember ten years from now?”  “What am I teaching that has universal application?”  “What key concepts do I need to cover in depth?”  and “How can I relate these key concepts to other lessons I have taught or to other disciplines?”

Read the whole post here.


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