#1797. New Directions for Teaching and Learning: Using the Decoding the Disciplines Framework for Learning Across the Disciplines. (2017). Janice Miller-Young & Jennifer Boman. Malden: Wiley Periodicals, Inc. 105 pp. $4.54. ISBN 978-1-1194-3169-5.  URL: wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/tl.


Karen G. Spangler

Upper Division Undergraduate Academic Advising

Ball State University

Muncie, IN

[email protected]


Wow!  This is one for every advisor’s resource library.  You will want to know about “decoding” - how the strategy can directly impact your advising communication efforts and how you can teach your advisees to engage the strategy in their learning experiences.

If you believe in the “guiding metaphor within NACADA [that] ‘advising is teaching’ (Gordon, et al, 2008),” you will immediately connect and apply what you learn from this book to your advising practice.  After all, what advising situation can’t benefit or be enriched by excellent communicative skills?

Miller-Young and Bowman apply theories to practice, give real-life examples, and provide evidence supporting that student comprehension is influenced by how teachers communicate what they know. The “decoding” process can be directly implemented in advising. Not only could advisors apply the strategy to personal and professional communication skills, but they could also teach it to advisees.  With this strategy, students could help themselves comprehend what instructors are saying and also become more engaged in advising sessions.

From the forward to the last page, I circled words, underlined phrases, wrote notes in the top, side, bottom and margins and paragraph spaces.  Each time I came across the word, “teacher,” I replaced it with “advisor,” and “student” with “advisee,” and the information matched perfectly every time.  An overarching theme became evident.  The “decoding” process is a guide to remembering what it was like to learn and letting that guide your teaching moments (39).  “Be who you needed when you were there” (unknown).

Miller-Young and Boman have authored a book that is easy to read.  You may be tempted to read it quickly, but you will be thinking, “How can I apply this to my advising practice?” So, take your time and let yourself think as you read each chapter.  The book is thought-provoking and well organized.  The use of researched works and references at the end of each chapter provide links to pursue for more in-depth research.  Ultimately, the authors “hope. . .others from diverse backgrounds [will] experiment with the (decoding) framework in their own contexts in order to improve teaching and learning” (100).  

Posted in: 2017 Book Reviews
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