Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning

Employ cognitive theory in the classroom every day

Research into how we learn has opened the door for utilizing cognitive theory to facilitate better student learning. But that’s easier said than done. Many books about cognitive theory introduce radical but impractical theories, failing to make the connection to the classroom. In Small Teaching, James Lang presents a strategy for improving student learning with a series of modest but powerful changes that make a big difference—many of which can be put into practice in a single class period. These strategies are designed to bridge the chasm between primary research and the classroom environment in a way that can be implemented by any faculty in any discipline, and even integrated into pre-existing teaching techniques. Learn, for example:

  • How does one become good at retrieving knowledge from memory?
  • How does making predictions now help us learn in the future?
  • How do instructors instill fixed or growth mindsets in their students?

Each chapter introduces a basic concept in cognitive theory, explains when and how it should be employed, and provides firm examples of how the intervention has been or could be used in a variety of disciplines. Small teaching techniques include brief classroom or online learning activities, one-time interventions, and small modifications in course design or communication with students.

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  • Jossey Bass Wiley

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    By Green on April 21, 2017

    Best Book on Teaching and Learning So Far This Year This is an outstanding resource for teaching faculty in higher education for three reasons. First, the chapters begin with introductions that give overviews of supporting evidence relating to the suggested learning activites, and then several potential activities are presented, along with lists of criteria for developing one’s own learning activities of the same types. This provides faculty with a lot of options. Second, one could use this book to build a whole quarter’s worth of learning…

    By Jeff DeSurra on April 21, 2017

    Practical applications of great cognitive science insights I work as an instructional designer in a graduate school, and this is the book that I’m going to be handing to all the faculty I work with to give them ideas about how to improve their courses. Lang writes in an easy-to-read but insightful way, drawing on his experience as a teacher to highlight small changes that can have a huge impact on students’ learning. He talks about changes not only for traditional face-to-face classes but also changes for online classes and hybrid classes. Having read…

    By Mark on April 21, 2017

    Informative and inspiring

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