Capturing the multiple landscapes of excellence: perceptions, enactment, and evaluations of teaching practices in four university undergraduate courses
Berry, Sandra Eileen
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This study was directed at capturing the multiple landscapes of undergraduate teaching excellence as viewed by the major stakeholders in college classrooms, the students and their teachers. These landscapes were described and examined with an eye towards gleaning conceptualizations of teaching excellence that could inform the construction of an integrated landscape. Such an integrated landscape could serve as an ideal starting point for the construction of a comprehensive framework for the evaluation and improvement of undergraduate teaching. Participants included four exemplar teachers, acknowledged for undergraduate teaching excellence and volunteer students from each of their classes: introductory sociology, physics, agricultural economics, and composition methods. A model of teaching excellence was constructed from aggregated student conceptualizations of excellent teachers. The model consists of five major dimensions: (1) content, pedagogical, and general knowledge; (2) concern and approachability; (3) enthusiasm; (4) focus on the development of student thought processes and curiosity; and (5) course organization and classroom management. Two recurring themes underlaying students' perspectives of preferred teacher roles are described: (1) a desire for a personal or professional connection with the teacher, and (2) a desire for a teacher who is sensitive to student progress.
- Doctoral Dissertations