Teaching Clearly

This article, “Teaching Clearly Can Be a Deceptively Simple Way to Improve Learning” (CHE, 22 November 2013, subscription required), advocates teaching “in a clearer and more organized way” to improve student learning outcomes.

Here are three excerpts from the article:

“While much of the pedagogical conversation in higher education focuses on innovations like the flipped classroom, the findings suggest the value of basic teaching techniques and traits.”

“What matters, the researchers said, is how the students’ perceptions affect learning. Professors may not be such good judges of their own teaching… yet their organizational skills and clarity can be easy to improve. ‘It doesn’t take a ton of money,’ he said. ‘It takes a little bit of time and some reflection.’”

“The survey of perceived organization and clarity may also tap into something larger, said several of the researchers. Professors who score well on the survey often demonstrate traits that may be even more important, like enthusiasm and passion…”

Teaching clearly is consistent with Lean teaching in that we try to simplify things, eliminate errors by both teacher and student, and make things clear at-a-glance. We spend ideas instead of money to improve work processes. This gives students confidence in the professor’s abilities and leads to better student learning outcomes.

Yet, there is much more than can be done to teach clearly and in a more organized way than is outlined in the article. For that, I hope you will read The Lean Professor.

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