About the book

I wrote the book because I wanted to share what I have learned from working with amazing colleagues in Elon’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning and from studying the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL).

Transforming History: A Guide to Effective, Inclusive, and Evidence-Based Teaching was published in the spring of 2020 by University of Wisconsin Press.

Arguing that effective teaching is learnable and that great teachers are intentional, inclusive, and scholarly, the book synthesizes the best current SOTL research about teaching and learning for dedicated but busy faculty.

You’ll find advice about how to choose day-to-day teaching strategies, prompt specific types of thinking, build an inclusive class climate, spur active learning, facilitate discussions, lecture well, and generally motivate, engage, challenge, and support students in learning.

The book urges us to plan intelligently in order to choose meaningful content, ask great questions, design interesting and transparent assignments, and generally plan a cohesive course. It de-mystifies assessment, offering options for grading fairly and efficiently, providing feedback that students use, gathering helpful feedback on one’s own teaching, and making the case to chairs and deans that one is an effective instructor.

Framework of the book

Framework for the book

As the framework suggests, there are five interrelated areas that thoughtful and intentional instructors should think carefully about.

  • Chapter 1 focuses on what we teach – our history content goals and how to design a coherent course with clear and engaging assignments that ask students to meet those goals.
  • Chapter 2 argues for the importance of knowing who we teach – who our students are – their prior knowledge and assumptions related to history, what they find challenging about learning history, and their motivation, identities, and mindsets – in order to improve the odds of all of them learning well.
  • Chapter 3 examines how we teach, providing both general principles and evidence-based suggestions for when and how to use specific strategies.
  • Chapter 4 considers how we assess, including how we evaluate student work and how we evaluate the quality of our teaching and make the case to others that we are effective instructors.
  • Finally, the last chapter discusses who we are as faculty, including our individual contexts, interests, identities, and assumptions, and what the research tells us about how to be successful and remain“sane.”

Order the book from University of Wisconsin Press or your local bookstore, or purchase it from Amazon or Barnes and Noble in hardcover or the budget-friendly Kindle or Nook editions. Both sites allow you to preview sections of the book.