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ERIC Number: ED515093
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 238
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1096-7454-5
Paying Attention to Students' Experiences of Learning: A Study of Liberal Arts College Professors and Their Learning about Teaching
Phifer, Tamsyn Rene
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Teachers College, Columbia University
This research examines private liberal arts college professors' learning about teaching, in particular, how they come to pay attention to their students' experiences of learning. This study relies on interview, observation, and document analysis to consider the experiences of 16 professors whose teaching changed as they carried out their work. All 16 professors selected for this study chose, early in their careers, to work in a private liberal arts college. Participating professors represented diverse subject areas and all were post-tenure at the time of the study, though the changes they describe occurred at various points in their careers. The study derives a framework for thinking about how professors, committed to teaching and building their careers in private liberal arts colleges, can come to pay attention to their students as learners. The framework features the following concepts: vocation, turning point, reflection, agency and pedagogical content knowledge. The study also presents five claims resulting from data analysis and suggesting that these professors may have "defining experiences" that prompt them to move from possession of a self-situated will to teach to a more expanded willingness to learn how to teach. The five claims address professors' will to teach, willingness to learn how to teach, defining experiences, defining experiences while teaching and learning with others, and being in their teaching. The study concludes that professors' learning to teach, and learning about teaching, are in good part self-directed, developing through their internally experienced "defining experiences" rather than being prompted by external events/activities (although those matter as well). These more personal "defining experiences" feature shifts in how professors think about their teaching and their students' learning. The study suggests that professors can progress professionally in response to their internal defining experiences--moments in which they recognize the need to be aware of who their students are and what their students may need or want in order to engage with various content and with the act of learning. The study concludes with discussion of implications for future research and also for policy and practice. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A