Division of Academic Affairs
Dr. Garvey Pyke introduces Chickering and Gamson's "Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education" (1987), a widely cited and heralded piece that helps us design our courses to be as effective as possible.
Welcome to this episode of "Teaching & Learning Matters." I am Dr. Garvey Pyke and I want to talk to you about "The Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education."
Whew—that’s a mouthful. “The Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education.” Let’s just call them “the Seven Principles” from here on out.
In 1987, two researchers, Arthur Chickering and Zelda Gamson looked at 50 years worth of research in undergraduate education and were able to boil it all down to Seven common themes that everything more or less fit into. They called them the Seven Principles, and since then, these Seven Principles have been widely cited in teaching and learning literature and have been used for everything from aiding program evaluation to designing online instruction.
Here at UNC Charlotte, our faculty professional development philosophy revolves around these Seven Principles: they are the backbone, the foundation, for all of our instructional programs. They also inform how we approach our use of various learning tools and technologies, so that we can promote such technologies in the appropriate teaching and learning context. For truly, an e-learning tool is merely a tool: an aid, method, or device for facilitating teaching and learning. As noted instructional technologist Steve Ehrmann would say, technology is just the lever for implementing these Seven Principles.
So as I go about describing these Seven Principles, I want you to think about what you are doing in your courses, how you interact with your students, how your course activities are designed, and what tools you may be using to achieve your instructional ends. Think about how each of these Seven Principles applies to your situation, and also think hard about how you could better align what you are doing with each of these. This is a time for reflection but also a time for planning ahead. And when we’re done today, I hope you have at least one new idea to implement in your ourse immediately.
So what are these Seven Principles already? Well, they are not any kind of “magic beans,” nor are they particularly earth-shattering. In fact, I am sure you already know these intuitively and have been practicing them for some time now. Ready? OK.
Principle number one: Good practice in undergraduate education …
Encourages contact between students and faculty. Frequent student-faculty contact both in and outside of class is an important factor in student motivation and involvement.
Principle number two: Good practice in undergraduate education …
Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students. Faculty should create and encourage opportunities for collaborative learning among students.
Principle number three: Good practice in undergraduate education …
Encourages active learning. Faculty should require students to apply their learning in oral and written forms.
Principle number four: Good practice in undergraduate education …
Gives prompt feedback. Faculty should provide appropriate and prompt feedback on performance. Students need help assessing their current competence and performance, and need frequent opportunities to perform and receive suggestion for improvement. Such feedback should be an ongoing process in collegiate settings.
Principle number five: Good practice in undergraduate education …
Emphasizes time on task. Faculty should create opportunities for students to practice good time management. This includes setting realistic time for students to complete assignments as well as using class time for learning opportunities.
Principle number six: Good practice in undergraduate education …
Communicates high expectations. Faculty should set and communicate high expectations for students. Such becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy for students and they often will rise to meet the challenge.
And finally, Principle number seven: Good practice in undergraduate education …
Respects diverse talents and ways of learning. Faculty should create learning opportunities that appeal to the different ways students will process and attend to information. Varying presentation style and assignment requirement will allow students to showcase their unique talents and learn in ways that work for them.
So that’s it. Those are the Seven Principles. Again, think about what you’re doing in your course and how these principles may apply.
If you would like to learn more about the Seven Principles or how you can incorporate them into your courses, feel free to contact me, Garvey Pyke, at J-dot-G-dot-P-Y-K-E-at-u-n-c-c-dot-e-d-u or call me at 704-687-2675. And of course, check out my next Podcast, where I go in depth into Principle number one, encouraging contact between students and faculty.
Until then, so long, and remember: Teaching and Learning Matters.
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