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Teaching Unprepared Students: Strategies for Promoting Success and Retention in Higher Education

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This book provides professors and their graduate teaching assistants--those at the front line of interactions with students--with techniques and approaches they can use in class to help at-risk students raise their skills so that they can successfully complete their studies.


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This book provides professors and their graduate teaching assistants--those at the front line of interactions with students--with techniques and approaches they can use in class to help at-risk students raise their skills so that they can successfully complete their studies.

30 review for Teaching Unprepared Students: Strategies for Promoting Success and Retention in Higher Education

  1. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    With the pressure to increase enrollment colleges and university's are admitting more students that are unprepared or "under" prepared for higher education, academically and socially. Worth the read. With the pressure to increase enrollment colleges and university's are admitting more students that are unprepared or "under" prepared for higher education, academically and socially. Worth the read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    CTEP

    The book I chose to read for November is called "Teaching Unprepared Students: Strategies for promoting success and retention in higher education". I chose this book because many of the learners that I interact with are college students who are unprepared for the technology expectations of college. I can incorporate some of these strategies into my open labs and classes that I teach. In particular, I found the chapter on setting goals and high expectations for students to be very helpful. Moving The book I chose to read for November is called "Teaching Unprepared Students: Strategies for promoting success and retention in higher education". I chose this book because many of the learners that I interact with are college students who are unprepared for the technology expectations of college. I can incorporate some of these strategies into my open labs and classes that I teach. In particular, I found the chapter on setting goals and high expectations for students to be very helpful. Moving forward, I will work to discuss goals with all learners. The strategies in this book are also helpful for anyone who teaches students who have struggled with formal education in the past. It was written by a professor at California State University. The book starts out by explaining the importance of supporting "at-risk" students, both for the financial sustainability of higher education and as a moral responsibility to support all students. One point the author makes multiple times throughout the book is that all students are capable of academic success, no one is "born smart". She explains that one of the main reasons she decided to write the book is because research shows that a teacher's perception of students' abilities plays a major role in the likelihood of student success. No matter how many support services are available outside of the classroom, a student is not likely to succeed if they do not have a positive classroom experience. Some of the authors main points include the importance of teacher-student interactions, how to create a learner-centered classroom community, and how to develop a teaching philosophy that supports unprepared students. Some of the strategies include: having clear goals for the class, learning student names, encouraging student-to-student interaction, requiring a respectful, inclusive classroom, having assessments that include different learning styles, holding high expectations for all students and communicating them, holding students accountable, and using connections to learning topics that are relevant to students' lives. Although this book is specific to higher education, I think it can be relevant for anyone who teaches learners who have traditionally struggled and/or been left out of higher education. Many of the strategies discuss working with recent immigrants, people who have learning disabilities, people who are the first in their family to go to college, and people who come from under-resourced K-12 systems. These strategies can be employed by any CTEP member, particularly those who work in an educational setting or who teach courses at a library. It reinforces the importance of education that works for everyone and that takes into account the different backgrounds of all students.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    This was our quarterly faculty book club read and it provides appropriate dos and sont's when it comes to teaching unprepared students - many of the students in the organization where I teach are at-risk, so it's a book to which my colleagues and I can certainly relate. I personally enjoyed the chapter pertaining to different learning styles since this addressed in the Student Success classes our students complete ( and that I teach). I look forward to sharing more about this topic through book This was our quarterly faculty book club read and it provides appropriate dos and sont's when it comes to teaching unprepared students - many of the students in the organization where I teach are at-risk, so it's a book to which my colleagues and I can certainly relate. I personally enjoyed the chapter pertaining to different learning styles since this addressed in the Student Success classes our students complete ( and that I teach). I look forward to sharing more about this topic through book club activities. I have taught at-risk students for many years in a wide range of educational settings. This book is a great general reference tool and has good ideas, especially for teachers new to teaching this population.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Adam Floridia

    This is a GREAT book for someone who has never been in a classroom: either as a teacher OR a student! Yes, either I am a naturally incredible teacher (I am) because I do those impossible-to-think-of-and-incredibly-innovative things like, oh, give out a syllabus, or this book is full of such basic (and outdated) "wisdom" that it is simply not worth reading. I actually would like to type out some specifically banal advice; however, I broke my right hand. I punched a concrete wall and have been suff This is a GREAT book for someone who has never been in a classroom: either as a teacher OR a student! Yes, either I am a naturally incredible teacher (I am) because I do those impossible-to-think-of-and-incredibly-innovative things like, oh, give out a syllabus, or this book is full of such basic (and outdated) "wisdom" that it is simply not worth reading. I actually would like to type out some specifically banal advice; however, I broke my right hand. I punched a concrete wall and have been suffering for it. That said, I still don't think I should write a book about "Teaching Angry Adults: Research Says You Should Apparently NOT Punch Walls." It's just one of those things that people should know, even if they slip up every once in a while.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn

    Practical, tested advice about setting expectations, consistent contact, learner-centered teaching, assessment, and promoting academic integrity. Like nipping distracting behaviors in the bud, helping students increase their vocabulary, and distributing a grade calculation worksheet. Why didn't I think of this stuff? Because my high school experience prepared me for these kinds of expectations in college. Practical, tested advice about setting expectations, consistent contact, learner-centered teaching, assessment, and promoting academic integrity. Like nipping distracting behaviors in the bud, helping students increase their vocabulary, and distributing a grade calculation worksheet. Why didn't I think of this stuff? Because my high school experience prepared me for these kinds of expectations in college.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    An interesting read (and timely as I begin preparing my syllabi for this fall). The book is a bit dated in that it doesn't offer a discussion of various digital ways to engage students, but still useful and recommended. An interesting read (and timely as I begin preparing my syllabi for this fall). The book is a bit dated in that it doesn't offer a discussion of various digital ways to engage students, but still useful and recommended.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    Would recommend this for any college professor. Straightforward and practical. I was pleased to see many of the practices I already use presented in this book, and I got some new ideas as well.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Helpful in developing a learner centric atmosphere.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Samuel Bierig

    Meh.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Seth Channell

    Gave clear ideas on how to help unprepared students.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amelia

    So, not that much in this book is really new to me, but it was good to see it all put together in one handy place. A few of the ideas for classroom/course management and assessment were novel. The reminders about good syllabi and the need for formative assessment are also useful. The chapters on learner centered education (6) and interweaving assessment and teaching 7) were probably the most interesting and, perhaps, the most likely to affect how I teach. This book is a useful reminder that all i So, not that much in this book is really new to me, but it was good to see it all put together in one handy place. A few of the ideas for classroom/course management and assessment were novel. The reminders about good syllabi and the need for formative assessment are also useful. The chapters on learner centered education (6) and interweaving assessment and teaching 7) were probably the most interesting and, perhaps, the most likely to affect how I teach. This book is a useful reminder that all instructors need to think about what they are doing and change it up at times. It provides good reasons for things like formative assessment and assigning random groups as well as examples of how to do such things. It could be a very good read for a new instructor to get an overview of some of the general classroom issues and particularly those with unprepared students. It could also be a useful reminder for the veteran professor that the way he or she has always done things might not be the best way. It's a quick read and well organized. If you want something in-depth on any of these topics, you'll want to look more specifically for deeper resources. However, as a general read, it's pretty good. On the down side, the chapter on learning styles really needs to go (yes, that's been debunked) but otherwise the book is pretty straightforward. Also, the author makes some assumptions about the power that instructors have that are laughable to some of us (for example, the power to administratively drop students who are not properly engaged in the classroom or who do not show for the first week, etc.). Clearly, her experience is not always generalizable. At times those tidbits are a bit (unintentionally) humorous.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Booktart

    Very helpful tips for a new teacher of high need college students. I do wish certain chapters/ideas had been more fleshed out. For instance, during a discussion of learning styles Gabriel mentions that she worked with a student to develop study methods aligned with her learning style and that these methods worked. I kept waiting for her to explain exactly what these methods were but she did not go into detail. There are several more examples of this throughout the book. However, Gabriel does sum Very helpful tips for a new teacher of high need college students. I do wish certain chapters/ideas had been more fleshed out. For instance, during a discussion of learning styles Gabriel mentions that she worked with a student to develop study methods aligned with her learning style and that these methods worked. I kept waiting for her to explain exactly what these methods were but she did not go into detail. There are several more examples of this throughout the book. However, Gabriel does sum up a ton of research and writing on the subject and provides an extensive list of references at the end of the book so I suppose those looking for more can turn to those. Overall though, a valuable read and reference for new teachers!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    I wish I had read this before teaching writing at a community college, but I was also happy to see that I had managed to do many of the book's suggestions when I taught anyway. My only issue with the book was that Gabriel seems to argue that students succeed because they enact learning strategies that fit their learning styles; however, there are those in the field who are questioning whether this theory of different learning styles is valid. Perhaps the best approach appears to be to acknowledg I wish I had read this before teaching writing at a community college, but I was also happy to see that I had managed to do many of the book's suggestions when I taught anyway. My only issue with the book was that Gabriel seems to argue that students succeed because they enact learning strategies that fit their learning styles; however, there are those in the field who are questioning whether this theory of different learning styles is valid. Perhaps the best approach appears to be to acknowledge that all students, regardless of any supposed learning style, benefit from employing strategies that have been tested and proven effective for their particular learning situations.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marvin

    Can be read in one long sitting. While I will use this book as a reference in designing my next syllabus, the book lacks specificity. For instance, for professors with large classes and not TA, many of the recommendations require way too much than many professors are likely to commit to. Also, some of the pointers in the "learner-centered" portion of the book lack actual "how to" instruction. Instead, the authors just tell you to "do things differently" without detailing how to do things differe Can be read in one long sitting. While I will use this book as a reference in designing my next syllabus, the book lacks specificity. For instance, for professors with large classes and not TA, many of the recommendations require way too much than many professors are likely to commit to. Also, some of the pointers in the "learner-centered" portion of the book lack actual "how to" instruction. Instead, the authors just tell you to "do things differently" without detailing how to do things differently.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I'm very glad to have a book like this in my toolkit as a faculty developer. In one well-edited volume, this book synthesizes almost all of the relevant literature on how faculty -- not tutoring centers, not admissions counselors, not financial aid counselors, but teachers themselves -- can increase the likelihood that unprepared students will succeed in their courses. The information isn't new to those of us in the field, but the package is perfect for consolidating and practically translating I'm very glad to have a book like this in my toolkit as a faculty developer. In one well-edited volume, this book synthesizes almost all of the relevant literature on how faculty -- not tutoring centers, not admissions counselors, not financial aid counselors, but teachers themselves -- can increase the likelihood that unprepared students will succeed in their courses. The information isn't new to those of us in the field, but the package is perfect for consolidating and practically translating the information on teaching strategies for student success.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    There is a lot to like about this book, but I utterly disagree with the author's assertions about the viability of online instruction for unprepared or underprepared students. Some strategies are not applicable for online educators, but there are a number of adaptable ideas. Vocabulary exercise in appendix D is invaluable. There is a lot to like about this book, but I utterly disagree with the author's assertions about the viability of online instruction for unprepared or underprepared students. Some strategies are not applicable for online educators, but there are a number of adaptable ideas. Vocabulary exercise in appendix D is invaluable.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Great, practical resource for teachers seeking to reach underprepared students. Gabriel describes in detail strategies for supporting these students (I'm adding some to my class this year), as well as encouraging teachers to keep holding these students to high standards of quality work and sustained effort. Recommended. Great, practical resource for teachers seeking to reach underprepared students. Gabriel describes in detail strategies for supporting these students (I'm adding some to my class this year), as well as encouraging teachers to keep holding these students to high standards of quality work and sustained effort. Recommended.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lynne

    Although aimed at college instructors, this book is filled with useful ideas for high school English teachers who also want to help their students meet rigorous academic expectations, so they are prepared to succeed in college and later in their careers.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Some really great ideas (including the section on teaching philosophy) but some outdated materials as well (the whole "learning styles" thing has been debunked more than once!). A quick read - took me about an hour. Some really great ideas (including the section on teaching philosophy) but some outdated materials as well (the whole "learning styles" thing has been debunked more than once!). A quick read - took me about an hour.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    I really enjoyed reading it. Made me think about all the things I can improved in my teaching. I have done some of the things she recommends, but some were knew to me. The key to working with unprepared students is to work harder with and for them. It takes more time, but I believe is worth it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    I keep coming back to this book. With 25 years of experience educator, I still need to be reminded that my job is to help every single student, not them come to meet my expectations. Kathleen Gabriel gives us good philosophy and great suggestions for engaging everyone.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lyndsey

    This might be redundant for long-time teachers, but I found lots of useful ideas. I loved the extended appendices with examples and samples of the assignments and strategies discussed. I'll be using this as a reference and resources for awhile. I would definitely recommend for new teachers. This might be redundant for long-time teachers, but I found lots of useful ideas. I loved the extended appendices with examples and samples of the assignments and strategies discussed. I'll be using this as a reference and resources for awhile. I would definitely recommend for new teachers.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kim Shively

    The book gave me some interesting ideas about how to approach some of my unprepared students, but so much of it seem rather limited or not realistic for a large classroom.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Recommended by Dr. Saundra Yancy McGuire in the Innovative Educator webinar (Teach students how to learn: Metacognition is the Key!)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Some good techniques, but they are merely mentioned in the book. Not nearly enough clear examples are used.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Karyn

    Concise, straightforward, and lots of fantastic suggestions that can easily be incorporated into the classroom. This book makes me feel more prepared for the coming semester!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Review to come.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

  29. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tama

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