Book by William Buskist & James E. Groccia,(Ed.).
Review By: Pamela V. Edwards
Director, Student Academic Affairs and College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Advising
University of Southern Maine

This volume of New Directions for Teaching and Learning focuses on a variety of proven evidence-based educational practices, how these methods can impact student learning, and under what circumstances they are most beneficial.  Nine practices are collected by the editors and examined, ranging from the traditional lecture to online teaching.

This text is easy to read and begins with an analysis of each teaching method including elements present as well as benefits and challenges for each.  Each method is written by experts with extensive research background in those areas and shares examples of educational situations where these practices have shown to be of greatest benefit to student learning and retention of information.  The last chapter includes a table comparing each of the nine systems.

Teaching faculty may benefit the most from this text. However, academic advisors will also find much that can be applied to the enhancement of the advising partnership.  First, for advisors, the methods are a useful resource to better understand faculty rationale for utilizing various teaching strategies.  Advisors can use knowledge learned in this volume to explain to advisees more effectively how what they are doing in class can support student learning and growth.

Secondly, those academic advisors who do teach in the classroom, perhaps in university seminar-type courses, as well as those advisors looking for ways to manage large advising loads will find the sections on Interteaching, and Online Learning most useful.  Each of these methods suggests particular practices that are directly transferrable to advising as teaching.  This knowledge can help an advisor encourage greater student responsibility and has the potential to transform the advisor-advisee partnership.

Interteaching includes components that may be useful in a group advising situation (p. 55).  For instance, using the preparation guide component stated as part of the Interteaching method might encourage students to complete some work by the student in prior to an advising appointment (review general education, and major requirements) and a creation of a tentative plan for future course work that may include a minor (p. 55).  This prep work makes the advising appointment much more fruitful. This is similar to the effect when students read assignments ahead of class they are more prepared for class work and discussion.

The section on Online Learning states, “Instruction combining online and face-to-face elements had a larger advantage relative to purely face-to-face instruction (p.101).” Given the increase in online and blended course offerings this research suggests a combination of online and in person advising may be more effective when used in tandem.

A glaring weakness for advisors is that the text  does not relate any of the research specifically to advising situations.  To utilize these evidence-based teaching concepts would take much scrutiny, trial, and error to determine if any of these suggestions would have any positive impact if implemented in an advising setting.  However, as more consideration is given to advising as teaching, many of these methods may find their way into the field of advising.

While the text will be very useful to those interested in an overview of a variety of current teaching methods proved to have positive impact on student learning, it is less so for academic advisors.  Anyone interested in further study on any of the methods discussed in the text has myriad resources available in the references provided.

Evidence-Based Teaching (New Directions for Teaching and Learning, Number 128)  (2001). Book by William Buskist & James E. Groccia,(Ed.). Review by Pam Edwards. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass 128 pp. $29.00, (paperback), ISBN # 978-1-1181-8086-6.


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