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Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President

University Teaching Scholars Chair
Summary of Activities

Dr. Stephen Thien
Chair, 2000-2001

Scholarship under girds both teaching and learning. In brief, a teaching scholar is someone who will: Learn to learn, learn to teach, and teach to learn. It seems basic that teachers must understand, practice, and transfer these fundamental scholarly activities. To that end, during my tenure as University Distinguished Teaching Scholar Chair, I sought to define those traits that describe a teaching scholar to recognize those that are and provide a guideline for those that want to be. Describing such traits might also provide useful as criteria for selection or evaluation processes involving teaching.

Interested persons may find results of this search in three formats:

  1. "Traits of a Teaching Scholar" presentation in the Provost's Lecture Series, April 5, 2001. (Video available from the Provost's Office).
  2. "Traits of a Teaching Scholar" website (http://www.k-state.edu/agronomy/teaching_scholar/traits.htm).
  3. Traits of a Teaching Scholar journal article (currently in review).

The Teaching Scholar
Teaching scholars apply scholarly traits to teaching that lead to learning. They exhibit a passion for teaching and a steadfast quest for mastery of teaching-learning processes. Scholarship provides the basis of the teaching profession, it's how knowledge progresses. Teaching scholars enable the process of academic cloning, where one learner becomes many learners. Teaching scholars seek proficiency of a trinity, three teaching/learning processes linked as one: learning to learn, learning to teach, and teaching to learn. A crowning achievement for a teaching scholar is to learn how to transfer a love of learning.

Teaching produces learning. Teaching intentionally transforms information into intellectual development of the learner. Teaching scholars seek development of the learner by presenting relevant content in a workable format to build critical thinking skills. Teaching scholars know that it hasn't been taught until it's been learned.

A scholar is a learned person. Scholar's exhibit a zest for things of the mind, thought, speculation, curiosity, learning and creativity. They practice discovery (what nobody knows) and insight (what you didn't know). A scholar builds, not fills, minds. A scholar awakens intellectual curiosity. Teaching scholars create lessons that stimulate learning. A scholar is a self-teacher and a self-learner in whom scholar and scholarship are inseparable. Scholars teach others to become scholars.

Teaching Scholar Trinity: I. Learning to Learn.
Learning to learn is life's most important skill. Teaching others to learn is a teacher's most important gift. Teaching scholars learn how people learn because the process of learning is fundamental to teaching and the advancement of knowledge. Learning to learn guides a teaching scholar in mastering both content and practice. Teaching scholars know what it means to learn, apply it purposefully, and promote its intellectual development in their students.

A list of guidelines on learning to learn traits can be seen at the website identified above.

Teaching Scholar Trinity: II. Learning to Teach.
Teaching scholars learn about teaching. Knowing how to teach is essential to their goal of producing self-directed, lifelong learners. Teaching scholars have the capacity to learn how to move students into the mode of becoming a self-motivating learner.

Teaching scholars intentionally pursue development of the learner's intellect. A teaching scholar understands that format determines the teacher-learner interface and has important consequences on learning.

Teaching scholars don't evolve from, or into, a standard, easily recognizable mold. The varieties of paths taken by teaching scholars in their quest to learn how to teach have yielded a multitude of outcomes. Students appreciate that learning can be packaged into many different formats. How boring it would be if learning were confined to a uniform context.

Teaching Scholar Trinity: III. Teaching to Learn.
Teaching scholars use instruction to produce learning. They teach in ways that exercise the mind, not fill it with the accumulation of others. They understand that learning isn't a happen-stance occurrence, but results from the intentional application of steps based on learning theory. Using their content and their style, teaching scholars use learning-oriented techniques and take responsibility to produce learning. This responsibility involves setting learning goals, creating a learning environment to achieve these goals, assessing outcomes to verify learning, and modifying activities as necessary to promote success.

Teaching scholars adhere to the guide that "it hasn't been taught until it's been learned."

Teaching scholars learn to learn, learn to teach and teach to learn. They master these traits to teach how to think rather than what to think. They seek to educate in ways that allow independent thinking and learning. In do so, teaching scholars teach toward the creation of other scholars. They have taught well enough when their students know how to learn.