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The purpose of this research project was to examine ways in which higher education professors are trained to teach. Eight professors from a small, liberal arts college in the northeast, who were also recipients of the college’s annual Teacher of the Year award, were observed in the classroom and interviewed about their educational training and background. By following the strategies of inductive reasoning and synthesizing these professors’ experiences and reflections, The author determined that many professors do not receive formal teaching training. The majority of the professors claimed to have learned to teach by trial and error and by emulating their favorite teachers’ approaches and tactics. Even so, it took years of trial and error for many to learn the logistics of teaching at the college level. Given the characteristics of the current millennial college student and the increasing cost of higher education, it is more necessary than ever for professors to engage in some form of educational training to increase the students’ value of education. By examining the ethics of these professors and their classroom approaches, the author recommends that the most effective way to train college professors how to teach is to design a training program or orientation experience grounded in adult education theory. Because research suggests most college students are developmentally adults and the fact that the successful professors observed in this study already use some adult education theory in their classrooms, it seems only logical to incorporate adult education theory into a training program for future professors.
McCaffery, E. S. (2012). Can they teach? A look at how professors learn to educate.(Unpublished master's thesis). Le Moyne College, Syracuse, New York. Retrieved from http://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_IACE-browseall/373/
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This is an excellent Masters' thesis by Elisabeth (Liz) Schylinski McCaffery for which Professor Roger Hiemstra served as the major adviser. It is posted with the author's permission.