1st Edition

Creating the Path to Success in the Classroom Teaching to Close the Graduation Gap for Minority, First-Generation, and Academically Unprepared Students

By Kathleen F. Gabriel Copyright 2018
    190 Pages
    by Routledge

    190 Pages
    by Routledge

    This is a book for all faculty who are concerned with promoting the persistence of all students whom they teach.Most recognize that faculty play a major role in student retention and success because they typically have more direct contact with students than others on campus. However, little attention has been paid to role of the faculty in this specific mission or to the corresponding characteristics of teaching, teacher-student interactions, and connection to student affairs activities that lead to students’ long-term engagement, to their academic success, and ultimately to graduation.At a time when the numbers of underrepresented students – working adults, minority, first-generation, low-income, and international students – is increasing, this book, a companion to her earlier Teaching Underprepared Students, addresses that lack of specific guidance by providing faculty with additional evidence-based instructional practices geared toward reaching all the students in their classrooms, including those from groups that traditionally have been the least successful, while maintaining high standards and expectations.Recognizing that there are no easy answers, Kathleen Gabriel offers faculty ideas that can be incorporated in, or modified to align with, faculty’s existing teaching methods. She covers topics such as creating a positive and inclusive course climate, fostering a community of learners, increasing engagement and students’ interactions, activating connections with culturally relevant material, reinforcing self-efficacy with growth mindset and mental toughness techniques, improving lectures by building in meaningful educational activities, designing reading and writing assignments for stimulating deep learning and critical thinking, and making grade and assessment choices that can promote learning.

    Foreword by Stephen Carroll 1. Retention, Persistence, and Success. Clarifying the Challenge 2. Class Climate. Widening the Circle for a Diverse Student Body 3. The First Month of the Semester. Engage, Connect, and Commit 4. Motivation and Attitudes. Impact of Mindsets and Mental Toughness Attributes 5. Interactive Lectures. Using Meaningful Educational Activities 6. Reading Assignments and Class Discussions. Stimulate Deeper Learning 7. Writing Assignments. Promote Critical Thinking and Writing 8. Resilience, Habits, and Persistence. Hold Fast and See It Through Epilogue Appendices References About the Author Index


    Kathleen F. Gabriel is currently an associate professor at California State University (CSU), Chico, and an educational consultant. She began her extensive teaching career as a high school social science teacher before she became a resource specialist teacher for students with learning disabilities. When moving to the university setting, she first developed an academic support program for at-risk and unprepared college students. She also became a faculty development specialist at the University of Arizona. She then served as the director of disabled student services at a community college in Northern California before joining the School of Education at CSU, Chico, where she has received two teaching awards.

    "Creating the Path to Success in the Classroom: Teaching to Close the Graduation Gap for Minority, First-Generation, and Academically Unprepared Students is a must-read for college faculty. Gabriel wrote this book for all faculty, from 2-year community colleges to 4-year institutions of higher education. As she points out, nationwide graduation rates are dismal (particularly for many students of color, the economically disadvantaged, and the un- or under-prepared), indicating a need for systematic transformations in college classrooms. She highlights the need to provide high quality, evidence-based practices, without compromising expectations for high standards. Ready-to-use resources throughout the chapters and in the appendices are an added bonus for faculty who are ready to utilize multiple interventions on multiple fronts to minimize the graduation gap for marginalized groups within our society."

    Denise K. Whitford, Ph.D., College of Education, Purdue University

    "Professor Gabriel's latest book builds on the best research related to the multifaceted challenges college students of color continue to face in actualizing their full potential. She extracts from these concrete, tangible, and practical recommendations that faculty and student affairs professionals can apply in their work to support increased student engagement, persistence and success."

    Tom Brown, co-editor and author, "Fulfilling the Promise of the Community College: Increasing First-Year Student Engagement and Success."

    “Professor Gabriel puts the retention and success of traditionally underserved students squarely on the shoulders of what faculty do with students inside and out of the classroom. She shares research and practice that show how faculty impact retention and success through the use of validated strategies such as 'Productive Persistence' and focusing on building growth mindsets in students. A very worthwhile read!"

    Mario Rivas, Professor of Psychology and President of the Academic Senate at Merritt College

    “At a time when more accurate predictive analytics and outsourced success coaches are the remedies to closing graduation rate gaps, it’s heartening to be reminded of the crucial role that instructors and the classroom play in supporting student success. As an expert teacher, Kathleen Gabriel presents practical ideas and adaptable techniques for faculty to effectuate their power to positively influence student persistence and to permanently expand their vast pedagogical toolboxes to maximize learning for all.”

    Jillian Kinzie, Associate Director, Center for Postsecondary Research, Indiana University

    "Creating the Path to Success in the Classroom totally delivers. As noted in this book, graduation rates for students in both four-year and two-year educational institutions are depressing. Something has to change, and this book is an important component in bringing about that change by noting how best to help our most vulnerable students. Chapter by chapter, Gabriel dissects and describes fundamental components that impact student success and provides specific strategies for bringing about successful learning outcomes. Creating a Path to Success in the Classroom will have a prominent place on my bookcase of essential resources for helping students to succeed in college."

    Todd Zakrajsek, Associate Professor, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    “This is a clear, engaging, and practical book that will be of use to anyone teaching in a university or community-college classroom.

    The foreword praises Gabriel’s ‘deep integration of theory and Practice’. This integration is one of the book’s major strengths. Gabriel introduces the reader to scholarship on barriers to student learning, student mindsets, and effective pedagogy. Extensively referenced and cited, Gabriel’s book is thus a primer on classic and more recent scholarship of teaching and learning. After describing this scholarship, Gabriel then offers practical suggestions of classroom strategies designed to engage students effectively given the data. These range from one-time strategies – reading a particular article on growth mindsets as a class, doing an active-learning activity – to strategies that unfold over the course of an entire semester. Gabriel offers concrete scripts for welcoming students and setting a classroom tone, giving student feedback that encourages persistence and growth, creating and shuffling small groups, and much more. Gabriel not only suggests what to do and why, but also encourages faculty to make those reasons explicit to students, making students intentional partners in their own learning.

    Creating the Path to Success in the Classroom will be helpful to teaching veterans and novices alike. In her opening chapter, Gabriel frames the book as designed to help faculty effectively teach and retain minority, first-generation, and academically unprepared students. As is the case with many implementations of universal design principles, however, these strategies ultimately improve student engagement and learning for all students.”

    Reflective Teaching

    "This book is highly accessible and should be a requirement for all students in doctorate programs who will be working in academia upon graduation. It is also a book that a provost’s office should recommend for all faculty in a manner such as a summer reading series or as part of the hiring process. The practical approaches to teaching in face-to-face and online settings outlined in this book will be relevant to educators in colleges of education as well as preservice teachers. In each chapter, the author takes the reader through the research and then into the strategies that address specific areas of need for students who are underrepresented in the college classroom.

    In the first chapter, 'Retention, Persistence, and Success: Clarifying the Challenge,' the author sets the stage with a succinct summary of the research to clarify the need for a change in how faculty approach teaching and learning, regardless of the discipline. The author provides a clear description of each of the ensuing chapters, thus providing readers with the opportunity to move to whichever chapter may be most intriguing or relevant. From the perspective of someone who has been in the field of education for over 30 years, Chapter One effectively establishes the need to review some antiquated practices that need to be revised in light of current research."

    Teachers College Record