Art of Teaching: Best Practices from a Master Educator

Course No. 2044
Professor Patrick N. Allitt, Ph.D.
Emory University
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Course No. 2044
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Course Overview

Teaching is more than a job. It's a responsibility—one of the greatest responsibilities in civilized society. Teachers lay bare the mysteries of the world to us. They train our minds to explore, to question, to investigate, to discover. They ensure that knowledge is not lost or forgotten but is instead passed on to future generations. And they shape our lives in limitless ways, both inside and outside of the classroom.

But teaching is no easy task. It's an art form; one that requires craft, sensitivity, creativity, and intelligence. Whether your classroom consists of 3 students or 300, it's important to be as effective and successful a teacher as possible, both for the education of your students and for your own professional and personal growth.

The Art of Teaching: Best Practices from a Master Educator, one of the most dynamic and innovative Great Courses we've ever produced, is designed to help you achieve new levels of success as a teacher. These 24 lectures will help you develop and enhance your teaching style; provide you with invaluable methods, tools, and advice for handling all manner of teaching scenarios; and open your eyes to how other teachers—and their students—think about and approach this life-changing profession.

An invaluable aid, this course's insights are useful to a wide variety of teachers and people in other leadership positions:

  • Current teachers at the college and high-school levels
  • Aspiring teachers and teachers in training
  • Corporate managers and trainers
  • Public speakers

In addition, The Art of Teaching has value for anyone who's curious about how academic education in the 21st century works. While the examples used in this course are rooted in the world of academia, the concepts and principles they illustrate—

  • lecturing,
  • presenting,
  • leading discussion groups,
  • using technologies, and
  • using creativity and innovation

—can be put to use in nearly every situation in which you're required to teach and lead.

Learn How to Teach from the Best of the Best

The Art of Teaching is delivered by award-winning Professor Patrick N. Allitt of Emory University, one of The Great Courses' most popular professors. A distinguished teacher with more than 30 years of classroom experience and 5 years as Director of Emory College's Center for Teaching and Curriculum (designed to study and improve the art and craft of university teaching), he is the perfect instructor with whom to explore ways to become a great—or even greater—teacher.

What's more: He enhances his lectures with candid and illuminating interviews with an all-star group of veteran Great Courses professors, some of the brightest teachers in higher education. Not only do you hear what they have to say about their roles as teachers, you actually witness them applying their tools and techniques in lecture halls, seminar classes, and even one-on-one student coaching.

These teachers are

  • John Hale, Director of Liberal Studies at the University of Louisville
  • Jeanette Norden, Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
  • Stephen Nowicki, Dean and Provost of Undergraduate Education and Professor of Biology at Duke University
  • Scott E. Page, Collegiate Professor of Political Science, Complex Systems, and Economics at the University of Michigan
  • Steve Pollock, Associate Professor of Physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Michael Roberto, Trustee Professor of Management at Bryant University

With these professors' wealth of teaching awards and accolades, their combined decades of experience teaching in classrooms of all sizes, and—most important—their deep and abiding passion for the importance of their profession, you'll learn how to teach from the best of the best.

Explore the Toolkit for Effective Teaching

At the heart of this new and unique course are the lessons you learn on how to enhance and improve your own teaching. In each lecture of The Art of Teaching, you'll discover a veritable toolkit of tips, techniques, exercises, advice, and wisdom rarely assembled in a single, affordable package.

Here's just a brief sample of what you'll learn in these 24 lectures:

  • How to handle the first day: The first day of your class is critical, because it gives your students an idea of what their learning experience will be like. Make sure that, during your first class, you explain your subject and establish your credentials for teaching it, demonstrate why the subject matters, set your expectations, learn your students' names, and immediately engage your students.
  • How to give a dynamic lecture: Excellent lectures are both informative and interesting. Some tips to make your lectures more dynamic and memorable: Start your lecture with something stimulating or controversial; vary your vocal volume, tone, and expression to maintain attention; occasionally ask rhetorical questions; and avoid overfilling your lecture with content.
  • How to effectively use technologies: When dealing with aids like PowerPoint, remember that the more teaching technology you use, the more time you're likely to devote to it instead of to your students. Keep your PowerPoint presentations bold and simple, and don't forget the usefulness of "traditional" technologies like blackboards. When using a teaching aid, always ask yourself: What does this method of teaching add? How will it help my students to learn?
  • How to create and administer exams: Exams should fully test your students' knowledge and thinking ability. Before writing an exam, ask yourself what you want the students to take from your course. Decide whether to administer a multiple-choice test, a take-home exam, or an oral exam; each has its benefits and drawbacks. Similarly, decide beforehand whether you're going to grade on a curve or according to an absolute standard, and what your policy will be for handling potential grade disputes.
  • How to survive the challenges of teaching: Teaching can be stressful at times, but there are many ways for you to remain focused. First, never take conflict with students personally; remember that your relationship with them is professional, and any disagreements should be handled professionally. It's also important to periodically reflect on your life as a teacher to ensure that you still view it as a vocation and not just a job to suffer through.

A Course Unlike Any We've Crafted Before

The Art of Teaching is a course unlike any we've crafted before—specifically because of how thoroughly it immerses you in the experience of being a teacher.

Professor Allitt's course takes you across the country and brings you inside the classrooms of some of the greatest universities in America, where you actually watch great teachers doing what they do best. It's this dynamic approach that makes the course a unique learning experience—one that gives you the knowledge on how to be an effective teacher, then demonstrates it for you.

In addition, you get a chance to hear views about teaching from the students themselves. Professor Allitt's interviews with students offer a fresh and often undocumented perspective on the art and craft of teaching. What do students think are the qualities of a great teacher? How would they describe the perfect classroom experience?

With its diverse perspectives, its immersive nature, and its unparalleled look at the lives and minds of a variety of instructors, The Art of Teaching will reshape the way you think about and approach this important profession. By the conclusion of the final lecture, you'll have an amazing reservoir of skills to draw on in your own teaching. Most important, you'll have found a source of guidance and inspiration that will last your entire career.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    Successful Teaching
    What makes a good teacher? What makes a great one? In addition to illustrating the important role that teaching—and teachers—play in civilized society, Professor Allitt outlines the structure of the following 23 lectures and introduces you to the other veteran Great Courses professors who'll appear throughout the course. x
  • 2
    The Broad Range of Learners
    There has always been a strong relationship between teaching and learning. Here, discover how lifelong learning habits are cultivated by listening to students share their own insights, and hear teachers stress why it's important to always keep learning. x
  • 3
    Starting Out Right
    The first day of class. It's the most daunting moment in the career of both new and seasoned professors. In this lecture, learn how to make the most of your first class meeting by actively getting to know your students' names, demonstrating why your subject is so important and fascinating, establishing your expectations, and more. x
  • 4
    The Teacher's Persona
    Discover ways to develop and enhance your teaching persona—the in-classroom personality that establishes respect among your students. These include establishing guidelines and boundaries; using dress, regionalism, age, and other personal characteristics to your advantage; and avoiding the pitfalls of treating students as peers. x
  • 5
    Planning the Work
    What do you want your students to learn? How do you intend to teach your subject? How would you solve potential learning problems? The answers to these questions lie in this lecture on the art of planning, which can help cut down on your degree of uncertainty and strengthen your teaching confidence. x
  • 6
    The Teacher-Student Relationship
    Listen to what teachers and students themselves have to say about the importance of maintaining responsible and productive teacher-student relationships. Professor Allitt also offers tips on the best ways to create and maintain a strong practical and professional working relationship with your students. x
  • 7
    Dynamic Lecturing
    Throughout the history of education, lecturing has been one of the basic ways teachers pass information on to their students. So what makes a lecture good? How can you work toward becoming a more effective lecturer? What kinds of mistakes do lecturers commonly make—and how can you avoid them? Find the answers here. x
  • 8
    Teaching with PowerPoint
    The 21st-century classroom is filled with all manner of technological teaching aids, yet it's easy for these technologies to be misused and overused. With PowerPoint as your example, focus on tips for using technology to complement, not control, your teaching style. x
  • 9
    Demonstrations, Old and New
    From PowerPoint, move on to other technologies that can both enhance and detract from your lectures. This lecture reveals the pros and cons of using older "technologies"—like blackboards, whiteboards, and in-class demonstrations—and more recent technologies such as clickers, e-mail, and podcasts. x
  • 10
    Teaching the Critical Skills
    Teachers must resist the assumption that their students know how to read critically. Here, Professor Allitt stresses the importance of having your students read aloud as a way to develop and enhance their knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, tone, and other components essential to analytical reading. x
  • 11
    Engaging with Discussion, Part 1
    Equally as important as critical reading skills are critical speaking skills. In the first of two lectures on this subject, discover how to make the most of your seminars with helpful ways to coax participation in your classroom, including calling on quiet students and encouraging your students to ask plenty of questions. x
  • 12
    Engaging with Discussion, Part 2
    Watch class discussions in action and learn how small groups can strengthen your students' abilities to communicate intellectually; how the special type of seminar known as the case method can prepare your students for the professional world; and the vital role of humor in turning your seminar into a productive environment. x
  • 13
    Cogent Thinking and Effective Writing
    A great weakness in American education and, consequently, in business is students' writing. Improve the way your students write with Professor Allitt's suggestions for assignments and exercises, including assigning papers with sentences of 10 words or fewer (to stress the merits of precision), 100- and 500-word summaries (to test students' ability to isolate issues in a text), and more exercises. x
  • 14
    Teaching Revision and Editing
    Continue your exploration of how to encourage and strengthen student writing with pointed advice on editing drafts (such as looking out for verb-tense inconsistency), rewriting papers (such as reading drafts aloud), and practicing more writing (such as having students keep a journal). x
  • 15
    Coaching Students on Presentation Skills
    Presentations, delivered by either one student or a group of students, are a part of nearly every teacher's classroom. So what makes a presentation so bad? More important, what can you do as a teacher to improve the quality of your students' presentations? Discover the answers to these questions here. x
  • 16
    One-on-One Teaching
    Research shows that one-on-one contact between teachers and their students has benefits for both parties. Here, watch two instances of Professor Allitt interacting with individual students and witness just how effective and valuable this kind of teaching experience really is. x
  • 17
    The Learner's Perspective
    Learn from students themselves their perspectives and opinions on the art and craft of teaching. What do they want from a teacher? What responsibilities do they take for their successes and failures in the classroom? How do they think teaching could be improved? x
  • 18
    Exams, Evaluation, and Feedback
    In this lecture, Professor Allitt reveals several approaches you can take to creating, administering, and grading exams—whether multiple-choice, short answer, or even oral tests. Plus, investigate ways to deal with cheating and plagiarism and how to approach—and learn from—your students' evaluations of your class. x
  • 19
    Maintaining Your Enthusiasm
    When you've taught for quite a while, it can be easy to lose enthusiasm for your profession and your subject. But research shows that students respond favorably to enthusiastic teachers. Here, learn how to reinvigorate your teaching by tapping into new research in your field and experimenting with team teaching. x
  • 20
    Managing the Challenges of Teaching
    Teaching is not easy—especially for beginners. This lecture exposes strategies for maintaining your confidence in common challenging teaching situations, such as when you have a large course load or when you have to teach outside of your area of expertise. x
  • 21
    Creativity and Innovation
    Just as important as maintaining enthusiasm for your job is instilling in your classes a sense of the unexpected. Look at some valuable techniques for keeping your teaching style interesting and innovative, and discover why these techniques can be more effective when they take advantage of your location or the special circumstances of the moment. x
  • 22
    Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths
    Education is for everybody. A good teacher makes all the difference. You should always uphold your students' self-esteem. The best teachers work at the most prestigious colleges and universities. Professor Allitt dispels these and other common—and sometimes controversial—illusions about teaching and American education. x
  • 23
    The Anatomy of a Great Teacher
    Listen to professors describe their lives and learn the answer to one of the most important questions in this course: What makes a good teacher great? Some common characteristics of great teachers that you explore include thinking of teaching as a calling, not a job; being able to be self-critical; and constantly striving to improve. x
  • 24
    Teaching and Civilization
    Conclude the course by taking a giant leap back and viewing the art, craft, and importance of teaching from a historical perspective. Why is education so important to advancing civilization? Who are some of history's greatest teachers? And what is the moral and political significance of this honorable and ancient profession? x

Lecture Titles

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DVD Includes:
  • 24 lectures on 4 DVDs
  • 86-page printed course guidebook
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  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

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Course Guidebook Details:
  • 86-page course synopsis
  • Photos & illustrations
  • Teaching toolkit
  • Glossary

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Your professor

Patrick N. Allitt

About Your Professor

Patrick N. Allitt, Ph.D.
Emory University
Dr. Patrick N. Allitt is Cahoon Family Professor of American History at Emory University, where he has taught since 1988. The holder of a doctorate in history from the University of California, Berkeley, Professor Allitt-an Oxford University graduate-has also taught American religious history at Harvard Divinity School, where he was a Henry Luce Postdoctoral Fellow. He was the Director of Emory College's Center for Teaching...
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Reviews

Art of Teaching: Best Practices from a Master Educator is rated 4.2 out of 5 by 78.
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I listened to the audio version. Overall, I think that this course was full of good advice, but is best suited for College Professors and IB teachers. It was a little hard to imagine Middle and HS teachers being able to apply some of the advice, due to lack of time, facilities, and to the fact that students are not there by choice. For Middle and HS, I would have wanted a little more about managing difficult students, how to make sure that school policies are clear and helpful to the teachers, advice on dealing with parents, and developing a student contract, for example. There was a physical problem with the CDs. There was some kind of filmy residue in the cases, and fingerprints that I was able to get off by washing, except on one of them, that only affected one track on one CD. I have received many other CDs, and no others had this problem.
Date published: 2016-10-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent for anyone who teaches This course contains some very good ideas and suggestions for teaching, both formally and informally. The lecturer is interesting to listen to - that is, he is a good teacher. I am listening to the audio version and find that I don't lose much without the video.
Date published: 2016-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Teaching As a novice I thought this course was very well put together. Dr. Patrick Allitt presented this course extremely well. I have learned a lot from this course and would recommend it to anyone wanting to brush up on better ways to add to your teaching techniques. I also have a better understanding of how to approach teaching and as well as being taught. Thank you.
Date published: 2016-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thought Provoking As the training manager at my site, I decided I needed to look for ways to improve my presentations and delivery and this course seemed to be just the thing. While it's focus is college level teaching, I still found it helpful by providing insights and thought-provoking processes that I could adapt to my role as a leader of trainers responsible for technical training. I will be able to use many of the concepts described in the course and I look forward to the improvements that I and my team will be able to introduce to our workplace.
Date published: 2016-01-21
Rated 2 out of 5 by from High expectations unmet Because this is a course for teachers, by teachers, about teaching, I had very high expectations. In fact, I found it mostly boring and didn't finish.
Date published: 2015-11-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Valuable for college teachers (video review) I am a graduate student in the humanities. I teach undergraduate courses, and i purchased this course with the hope of improving my undergraduate teaching. I was not disappointed. Dr. Allitt models good teaching while instructing on it. I learned much simply from watching the lectures. I would recommend the video version based on this. I have not listened to the audio only version, and I don't know if it's different from the video. But I can say that you will miss out on watching Dr. Allitt's presentation and the many examples shown of actual lectures in college classes. Teaching is so much more than the words used, so I would recommend the video. I can say without hesitation that my own teaching has improved, even during the current semester. Basically, I learned lots of tips on how to teach college classes better. I imagine much of this would translate to high school and perhaps even middle school. His candor was refreshing. He endorses an "old school" approach, to a certain extent, according to which expectations are set for the student, and if the student fails to meet those expectations, he or she is missing out. It is not the teacher's fault, necessarily. That said, what I gained was many good ideas for how to implement better teaching in my own courses. Without pretending to summarize everything I learned, I realized that professionalism and the actual presentation are worth quite a bit. Previously, I would enter classes without any pretense of being anything other than what I am or was. I now realize that students perceive me as an authority, and if I fail to live up to that perception, I am missing out on an opportunity to guide them. I recall showing up to my first sections in flip flops and a T-shirt. I have not yet adopted the dress shirt and tie, but I want to work up to this. In brief, there is a lot to be learned from those who have spent years and years teaching undergraduates. Learning to teach is like learning to do anything else well. You have to emulate those who do it best. This course will give you lots to think about regarding pedagogy. Among the highlights: -Understanding how students perceive the teacher and how this can translate into better or worse learning environments -Ways to challenge students -Strategies for structuring the course, planning the course, and grading the course -The dynamics of the student-teacher relationship... I would say this was one of the highlights of the course -Numerous examples of what an excellent teacher looks like... another highlight -Ideas for how to engage students during lectures and discussions In short, if you teach undergraduates and are hoping to get better at this, I recommend the course. If you teach high schoolers, there is much to be learned also, I am sure, but you are not the target audience. I give this 4/5 stars because it seems to me that there is obviously some filler here. Maybe 60% of the instruction I found to be of use. That's not too bad at all. I can't imagine someone doing better with the subject, but, broad as it is, there is bound to be a lecture or two that you simply aren't interested in. I would recommend this course to anyone who teaches undergraduates, especially, and to anyone interested in pedagogy generally (to a lesser extent, depending on how far you are from teaching undergrads).
Date published: 2015-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well presented and practical ideas As a teacher for over 35 years I have been involved in many different types of teaching venues from lecture to seminar to tutorial to team learning and team teaching as well as on-line discussion courses. Professor Allitt presents the topic by looking not only at the rational side of presenting material for students to learn, but also the emotional side of things, like appropriate student-teacher distancing, the difficult task of grading versus the desire to have the student succeed, and the difficulties arising when you have misread the tone, pace and willingness of the students to go along with you. Above all, he articulates the goals we are really trying to achieve in this age of life-long learning, something that I have found difficult to do when faced with students who do not want to learn a particular skill in modeling or revise a manuscript that falls short of passing the grade. Indeed, I wish I had this course 30 years ago.
Date published: 2015-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Help for tutor I am volunteer reading tutor, working with third grade students. There are some key lessons in this course including engaging the student, why it's important to read aloud, and letting the lesson go where the student has interests. I use ideas from this course each time I tutor.
Date published: 2015-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Art of Teaching I have gone through half of the course lectures and am finding it very helpful. Even though the instructors mentioned in the course, including the teaching professor, present from a college teacher's perspective, much of the advice can be applied to a variety of teaching settings. Lots of tidbits to glean and I most assuredly will listen to this one several times over to pick up on what I might have missed in the first go-around. I only teach Sunday school and have home schooled, but believe these lectures provide valuable advice for me. Thank you.
Date published: 2015-03-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Teaching Foundation I am a retired college teacher now on a second career as a corporate trainer. I highly recommend this video series for both the newer teacher as well as the seasoned professional. The newer instructor will gain a solid foundation in what is necessary for success. The seasoned instructor would do well to review the same fundamentals and possibly revise their own instructional approach. I have taught train the trainer courses. This video series would be a great addition to train the trainer course programs.
Date published: 2014-12-09
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Material Seems Outdated As a former teacher, I found this seriously lacking in "Best Practices". The students of today require and deserve more than the foundational information in this program. If you are a college professor just starting out in teaching this is a good start, but it is just a start. Strong classrooms are built on four pillars, management, instruction, engagement and evaluation. Best practices are inserted into each pillar, but they are not found in this program. I expected more from a Master Teacher.
Date published: 2014-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good Advice for Students, too. I've found all of Prof. Allitt's works, written and recorded to be quite worthwhile for both content and (importantly at my age) enjoyable presentation. There is a good deal to be derived from this set about all aspects of the educational process. Allitt's course was not only enriching as to the overall process of teaching and learning, but also brought back a lot of pangs of regret about my own lousy learning habits in years past.
Date published: 2014-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well done and greatly helpful I have been teaching publicly in some capacity for about 20 years, either as a pastor or school teacher. One of the things I realized is, though i have been well instructed in my field, I had never taken an actual course on teaching. This course was just what I needed. It has made me think more deeply and creatively about what I do, and it is my hope that there will be continued development in this that I love to do. I have been recommending this to others, and am hoping to help incorporate some facets of the material in two schools that I am associated with. Thank you for such excellent instruction. Keep up the good work.
Date published: 2014-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Art of Teaching The arts of presenting to a class of students and presenting to a jury are closely related. Both involve teaching new material, and doing so in a manner that rivets the attention of the student or juror, supports persuasion where appropriate, and elicits feedback, both directly and subliminally, from the listener. This course is being used in a "Fridays at Four" presentation at my college, a lecture, then discussion. The audio version I listened to during the long commutes was just as effective, but the images were more vivid because they came from the imagination. This is a top notch course, worth every minute of attention, and while it may not make you a better teacher or jurist straightaway, it does provide all the tools that will get you there with diligence and repetition. I highly recommend the Art of Teaching lecture series.
Date published: 2014-10-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thing I could have used. This course provided many insights that I could have used both in work and when working with the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts. It was interesting to find that I already was using some of the ideas, but there were many others provided. In a way it is dangerous as I have since started to pick out poor presentation items, both in my daily life and even in the Great Courses presentations. I'd say that means it works and left a lasting impression on me. If you teach or work with presentations in your work or other activities, this gives some good advice. Someone with a degree in education may already have this information, but I didn't and now I do.
Date published: 2014-10-03
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Maybe I had Unrealistic Expectations I bought this course solely out of curiosity and general interest. I am not a teacher or professor directly, as my work largely deals with one-on-one interactions in a clinical setting. I could see where this series would be very helpful for a green professor, though it turned out to have little of substance with which I can work. I also had the audio version, which was occasionally frustrating to listen to because it would have an interview clip of a professor with what I finally determined was an audio-video clip of that person in action running concurrently; the end result was an overlap of dialogue, with the partially perceptible discussion adding only distraction. I had just finished the course, "Scientific Secrets for Raising Kids Who Thrive," and I was honestly expecting a more concrete approach. What is the recent research and evidence behind various teaching approaches? How does one work better in certain settings than others? Instead, the course is largely subjective and opinion driven, though I credit Dr. Allitt for highlighting opinions different from his own. Most all the student interviews did not add any substance to the lectures themselves, though one could learn from many of their interviews how annoying filler words (um, like, you know, etc) can be to the listener as well as how they do not enrich a speaker's points. Ironically, the thing I gained most from this lecture series what that I might want to purchase one of Dr. Allitt's courses on history. In a few of the lectures, I caught a glimpse of his approach and was actually quite interested in hearing more about the history he was teaching, though beforehand had never really considered purchasing a history course.
Date published: 2014-08-31
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Very General This course dealt with generalizations and had very few specific ideas to help improve teaching. Dr. Allitt did little more than talk to the screen with occasional clips of other teachers and students talking about what their perceptions of what good teachers do. There is nothing new here, although neophytes might pick up a few tips. If you read the summaries at the end of each lecture, you don't have to watch the whole lecture. In other words, the entire course could be boiled down to an hour lecture. Very slow moving without presenting best practices or explaining current research and ideas. Merely mentions "flipping the classroom" without explaining any details, which is typical of many of the topics in this course.
Date published: 2014-07-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Was expecting something different As a person that feels passionate about education, I purchased this course to "get my feet wet" in this area. From my limited experience, it seemed the lecturer was knowledgable in the subject matter, but he did not connect with me. I only see his insights being useful in graduate and doctoral level courses, definitely not for a prospective high school teacher, in my limited opinion
Date published: 2013-11-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from third time through Just finished this series of lectures for the third time, in preparation for the new academic year about to start. I cannot say enough good things about the course; I see something new, gain new ideas for my own teaching with each viewing. A note to the (lone) detractor among these reviews regarding 'no concrete suggestions': let the lectures stimulate your own imagination and the ideas will come rushing in, as they have for me. You don't want to miss this course, whether teacher or not.
Date published: 2013-07-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself. Video download. © 2010. Guidebook 99 pages. I’m unsure whether or not to recommend this course. For teachers beginning their career, I recommend it without hesitation. For university students, I think they’ll get a lot out of it as well. Naturally, they need to have high standards. I'm sure this course will give them a good benchmark for recognizing quality teaching. But for seasoned, reflective teachers who make professional development a priority, then I’d have to say I can’t really recommend it. Actually, it’s often very general, lacking in specific techniques that teachers can use to overcome typical classroom pitfalls. I thought there would have been more references to classroom research or case studies. Instead, it’s more of a look at effective teacher traits rather than research-based teacher development. I mean, it’s still worthwhile, but it leaves a gap in teacher training. If you’re a bad teacher getting poor evaluations, this isn’t going to help much, aside from a few nuggets here and there. Professor Allitt is easily a favorite of mine. I’ve seen two of his other courses, and his performance here is on par with past courses. I think he’s a fantastic lecturer with excellent speaking skills. No complaints here. You have to appreciate his honesty and sincerity. Professor Allitt shares the screen with other TGC professors. This aspect of the course, basically team teaching, was a big plus for me. I really enjoyed their onsite interviews and class demonstrations. They were all engaging and unique. Another novelty, student interviews, helped, too. These kids were brave enough to get in front of the camera, so kudos to them. Overall I was happy with the course. It has broad appeal. However, a follow-up course illustrating more specific teaching techniques or procedures would be nice.
Date published: 2013-06-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This should be a required course for all teachers! Dr. Allitt's professional but personable approach to teaching people how to teach is phenomenally presented by the Teaching Company. Using examples from his own classroom and explaining how he arrived at his teaching philosophies–usually because of doing something wrong–Dr. Allitt shows us how to successfully communicate an idea to someone who has never heard of the idea before. But don't be deceived by the title of this course. While there is a great deal of material dedicated to testing that your students have in fact mastered the concepts that you have taught them, this course is especially useful to anyone who has to give a presentation. There isn't a formula for imparting knowledge to another person in such a manner that they will retain it for life, else teaching would be a matter of following procedure. Instead, this course shows you what not to do and offers advice on many of the problems teachers and presenters will encounter in their work.
Date published: 2013-04-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Engaging Course This course on effective teaching is the first I've purchased of the Great Courses and I couldn't be more pleased. Professor Allitt speaks about and physically demonstrates methods for effectively engaging the interests of students or any target audience. He definitely had my interest and I looked forward to hearing each of his lectures. His pleasant, conversational style helped me as the listener to feel as if I was being personally addressed. He repeatedly stresses the importance of a positive student/teacher relationship and my preception was that he was practicing what he was preaching. The best teacher I had in school prior to college was a traditional teacher who expected much from her students and Professor Allitt reminded me of her with his very practical approach to effective teaching. I'm inspired but much practice lies ahead for me.
Date published: 2013-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent resource for teachers! I bought this course as a gift for my wife. She teaches medicine at our local university. She has found this course very engaging and inspiring. There were many times when I heard her laughing with joy. The overall production and presentation exceeded her expectations. The course presents a wealth of perspectives from various teachers in different subject areas. It covers all the aspects of teaching and also reveals the viewpoint of students. Overall, a great course from an excellent professor. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2013-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from THE Course for College Professors This course is a MUST-SEE for anyone who teaches at a college or university! Quite simply, it IS the missing course that every professor should have taken in graduate school...but didn't. Imagine what leaps and bounds our institutions of higher learning could make if all of our nation's professors were privy to the tips and techniques that Dr. Allitt so skillfully conveys in this course. He is a wonderful professor and I can't say enough about the importance of this course in helping me to further my own development as a professor. Thank You!
Date published: 2012-11-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Nice overview I think this is a great course not just for teachers, but students as well. It gives an excellent overview of what teachers are looking for in student presentations, essays, and class participation. I personally took the course for possible pointers on parenting and there was one or two (eg make the topic interesting to students). My main criticism (and why I gave 4 as opposed to 5 stars) was that the course was predominantly the opinion of Professor Allitt (and occasionally four other professors). There was a paucity of references to research on learning or teaching. As such, I can see many teachers differing with some of the professor's viewpoints. Ironically, I think this course is of most value to college students. There are great advice on writing essays, powerpoint preparations, and class presentations, all of which will serve the student well. Teachers are likely to take issue with some of the opinions. However, even for them it will be a nice overview of the challenges faced by instructors.
Date published: 2012-07-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Insights into the Art of Teaching I really enjoyed this DVD. The Way that Professor Patrick N. Allitt {together with the Teaching Company} have put these lectures into a such logical format; as well as the other Professors interviewed; the insights -- including very personal events from their lives (including different methodologies from both sides of the Atlantic) all of which illustrate the "Best Practices from Master Educators": the way of "getting in and doing yours best", and learning from your mistakes, evaluating your own student's feedback, and getting other teachers to give you constructive comments. Where ever one may teach, and be it "one to one"; or to multiple lecture rooms; in colleges; universities; high schools; in business; or even teaching individual music students; I personally believe that this DVD: "The Art of Teaching: Best Practices from a Master Educator" from Great Courses and the 24 / 30 minute lectures would be of benefit to everyone who watches it.
Date published: 2012-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Science and art of teaching You're either a born teacher or trained teacher. It's truly a strange fact that majority of college teachers never had formal training in teaching (I only had to do one lecture). And students always manage to learn generation after generation. As a college graduate everybody appreciates great teachers who make learning easy and fun. A great teacher is also a role model as Professor Allitt points out. At the end of lecture, Professor Allitt brings up Professor Norden's compassionate 3 cards approach that is striking and inspirational. That is beyond things they teach in church without religious biases in moral ethical values. The lecture topics are well plotted, organized, and presented with depth and width. I like that it also includes many examples in practice, a group of top professors teaching approach and style for reference from the teaching company, and students perspective from interviews. I recommend to everybody, including my college student son to watch the lessons in writing.
Date published: 2012-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Reflective or Prospective As a former medical school dean, I was responsible for ensuring an engaging curriculum in both basic sciences and clinical specialities. This necessitated hiring excellent professors, reviewing criteria for promotion and tenure, and encouraging sessions to critique teaching effeciviness. I purchased this 24-lesson course to gain from the wisdom and experience of a group of outstanding teachers led by Dr. Allitt. I was not disappointed. Especially, I appreciated his focus on effective writing and speaking, use of tried-and-true teaching methods along with new technologies, and the importance of knowing your students. In the next edition of the course, I recommend moving lecture 23 to become lecture one. This lecture establishes the value of teaching and the value of the teacher which would be a good beginning. The title of the course: "Art of Teaching: Best Practices from a Master Educator," created discussion from other professors in the course as to whether teaching is an innate gift, an art, or an acquired skill. From my experience with excellent teachers (called Golden Apples in medical schools), I believe the ability to teach is an innate gift, practiced as an art, and continually improved by learning new skills. I strongly disagree with Professor Allitt about creating a classroom atmosphere of uncomfortable anxiety. Perhaps this is residual from his Oxford education. I believe that the classroom should be comfortable such that students come prepared and are encouraged to speak. There is suffeicient peer-pressure and discomfort for the unprepared, dis-interested student. Professor Allitt is correct that university professors are not trained as teachers, but must develop their individual style. I don't think this is all bad. It seems to me that the curriculum required of primary and seconday school teachers is stultifying, and may stifle teaching excellence. However, once a person chooses to become a university professor (or teacher in any other venue) there must be on-going opportunities to learn teaching skills from outstanding teachers. Dr. Allitt discribes the method used at Emory Universtiy. This is an outstanding course for excellent teachers who want to be reflective, and for beginning teachers who want to be prospective. I recommend this course to college and universtiy deans, as well as school principals, to provide a frame-work for achieving teaching excellence.
Date published: 2011-12-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Invaluable Advice from a Most Wise Teacher Solicit Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a donation to cover the cost of TGC production for this course and make this 24-lecture series available for free to ALL teachers including home schooling moms who want to improve their craft. Imagine the ROI and benefit to all the students in America who have to sit in a classroom and suffer the foolery of their sincere but "untaught" teachers. Therein lies the biggest problem of poor teaching....the teachers are not trained in the art of teaching but teach they must day in and day out. (Government certification thus interference is of course not helpful for we all have suffered at the hands of well credentialed professionals who are terribly incompetent in spite of the paperwork attesting otherwise.) I've taught in college, professional and religious context. But when I was recently asked to teach 5 courses with 7 classes in a private secondary school (an impossibly taxing arrangement requiring a different approach to preparation, as Prof. Allitt alluded to), I turned to TGC's DVD series on the Art of Teaching to save my life and maintain sanity. Prof. Allitt understands the myriad challenges and complex nature of teaching, where the audience & formal context have as much to do with one's effectiveness as one's subject matter expertise & competency as a teacher. He has offered the necessary bird's eye view, structured the course well & offers much wisdom & very practical advice to the aspiring/struggling teacher, things like: -Plan your work NOT for complete coverage but to FACILITATE learning, therefore, plan on modifying your syllabus several times during the course. -Don't go over your syllabus on the first day like most teachers do but instead, make a HUGE impression with your enthusiasm and expertise. Regardless of your insecurity, you still knows A LOT more than your students! -In other words, AWE your students, so teach "without notes on the first day." The course has tons of invaluable advice like that which you can use directly and immediately regardless of subject matter and context. There are several highly regarded TGC professors that he interviews and showcases their classroom mannerism, as well as interviews with college students who comment on what turns them on or off, almost in a documentary fashion. But because these are provided for illustration purpose of principles he's explained very well, they are not crucial and thus I would say the audio version could have been adequate for me. The professor is British but spent the last 2 decades teaching in America and thus brings a different cultural but very helpful perspective that is insightful and beneficial to American teachers: Don't try so hard at being your students' buddy and commit "professional malpractice". Maintain a healthy distance so you can be an effective teacher.
Date published: 2011-11-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not for a true master teacher If you are new to teaching or are a fairly bad teacher, this course will help and give you ideas to use in your teaching philosophy and teaching style. However, if you have been teaching for a while or are a good teacher, do not waste your time or money buying this course. It is so challenging to sit through. The teacher in this course knows what he is talking about, but really needs to take a course in delivery. He is very dry and not engaging. This is a great example of a teacher who has great knowledge in content area, but no ability to connect or teach a class.
Date published: 2011-09-25
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