Disciplines as Frameworks for Student Learning; Teaching the Practice of the Disciplines

Tim Riordan and James Roth (2005)

Creating ways to make a discipline come alive for those who are not experts–even for students who may not take more than one or two courses in the disciplines they study–requires rigorous thought about what really matters in a field and how to engage students in the practice of it. Faculty from Alverno College representing a range of liberal arts disciplines–chemistry, economics, history, literature, mathematics and philosophy–here reflect on what it has meant for them to approach their disciplines as frameworks for student learning. They present the intellectual biographies of their explorations, the insights they have gained and examples of the practices they have adopted. The authors all demonstrate how the ways of thinking they have identified as significant for their students in their respective disciplines have affected the way they design learning experiences and assessments. They show how they have shaped their teaching around the ways of thinking they want their students to develop within and across their disciplines; and what that means in terms of designing assessments that require students to demonstrate their thinking and understanding through application and use. This book will appeal to faculty interested in going beyond mere techniques to a more substantive analysis of how their view of their respective disciplines might change when seen through the lens of student learning. It will also serve the needs of graduate students; trainers of TAs; and anyone engaged in faculty development or interested in the scholarship of teaching. This book includes the following:

  1. Common Ground: How History Professors and Undergraduate Students Learn through History (James Roth)
  2. Learning to Think Mathematically (Susan Pustejovsky)
  3. Teaching Students to Practice Philosophy (Donna Engelmann)
  4. Making Economics Matter (Zohreh Emami)
  5. Reading and Responding to Literature: Developing Critical Perspectives (Lucy Cromwell)
  6. Articulating the Cognitive Processes at the Heart of Chemistry (Ann van Heerden)
  7. Because Hester Prynne was an Existentialist, or Why Using Disciplines as Frameworks for Learning Clarifies Life (Rebecca Valentine).