Based on the most extensive research on community college teaching to date, this book examines the nature of teaching and the institutional forces that shape it in a variety of course settings, ranging from innovative approaches to complex subjects to conventional didactic instruction. Drawing on observations of and interviews with over 300 instructors and administrators, this book documents the idiosyncratic instructional practices of teachers who learn to teach primarily by trial and error. It argues that in order to realize their enormous potential, community colleges must take greater advantage of the many institutional influences on the quality of teaching--such as personnel policies, instructor training, and the culture established by administrators--only then will they be able to successfully carry out their many roles in both mainstream education and in workforce development.

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