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Chickering and Gamson's Seven Principles of Good Practice

Page history last edited by Jessica Luzanilla 9 years, 9 months ago


In reaction to the perceived decline of undergraduate performance, Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson, in 1987, published the following guidelines to help promote improvements.


Seven Principles of Good Practice


1. Encourages Contact Between Students and Faculty
Frequent student-faculty contact in and out of classes is the most important factor in student motivation and involvement. Faculty concern helps students get through rough times and keep on working. Knowing a few faculty members well enhances students' intellectual commitment and encourages them to think about their own values and future plans.


2. Develops Reciprocity and Cooperation Among Students
Learning is enhanced when it is more like a team effort that a solo race. Good learning, like good work, is collaborative and social, not competitive and isolated. Working with others often increases involvement in learning. Sharing one's own ideas and responding to others' reactions sharpens thinking and deepens understanding.


3. Encourages Active Learning
Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just by sitting in classes listening to teachers, memorizing pre-packaged assignments, and spitting out answers. They must talk about what they are learning, write about it, relate it to past experiences and apply it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of themselves.


4. Gives Prompt Feedback

Knowing what you know and don't know focuses learning. Students need appropriate feedback on performance to benefit from courses. When getting started, students need help in assessing existing knowledge and competence. In classes, students need frequent opportunities to perform and receive suggestions for improvement. At various points during college, and at the end, students need chances to reflect on what they have learned, what they still need to know, and how to assess themselves.


5. Emphasizes Time on Task

Time plus energy equals learning. There is no substitute for time on task. Learning to use one's time well is critical for students and professionals alike. Students need help in learning effective time management. Allocating realistic amounts of time means effective learning for students and effective teaching for faculty. How an institution defines time expectations for students, faculty, administrators, and other professional staff can establish the basis of high performance for all.


6. Communicates High Expectations
Expect more and you will get more. High expectations are important for everyone -- for the poorly prepared, for those unwilling to exert themselves, and for the bright and well motivated. Expecting students to perform well becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when teachers and institutions hold high expectations for themselves and make extra efforts.


7. Respects Diverse Talents and Ways of Learning
There are many roads to learning. People bring different talents and styles of learning to college. Brilliant students in the seminar room may be all thumbs in the lab or art studio. Students rich in hands-on experience may not do so well with theory. Students need the opportunity to show their talents and learn in ways that work for them. Then they can be pushed to learn in new ways that do not come so easily.


Examples of Applying the Seven Principles

Joseph R. Codde, Ph.D, from Michigan State University, has put the principles into practice using the following guidelines.


I make a point to talk with my students on a personal level and learn
about their educational and career goals.

I seek out my students who seem to be having problems with the course
or miss class frequently.

I advise my students about career opportunities in their major field.

I share my past experiences, attitudes, and values with students.

I know my students by name.

I make special efforts to be available to students of a culture or race
different from my own.

I serve as a mentor and informal adviser to students.


Beginning with the first class, I have students participate in activities that
encourages them to get to know each other.

I use collaborative teaching and learning techniques.

I encourage students to participate in groups when preparing for exams
and working on assignments.

I encourage students from different races and cultures to share their
viewpoints on topics discussed in class.

I create "learning communities," study groups, and project teams within my courses.

I encourage students to join at least one organization on campus.

I distribute performance criteria to students so that each person's grade is independent of
those achieved by others.


I ask students to present their work to the class.

I ask my students to relate outside events or activities to the subjects covered in my

I encourage students to challenge my ideas, the ideas of other students, or those presented
in readings or other course materials.

I give my students concrete, real-life situations to analyze.

I encourage students to suggest new readings, projects, or course activities.


I give students immediate feedback on class activities.


I return exams and papers within one week.

I give students evaluations of their work throughout the semester.

I give my students written comments on their strengths and weaknesses
on class assignments.

I discuss the results of class assignments and exams with students and the class.


I expect my students to complete their assignments promptly.

I clearly communicate to my students the minimum amount of time they
should spend preparing for class and working on assignments.

I help students set challenging goals for their own learning.

I encourage students to prepare in  advance for oral presentations.

I explain to my students the consequences of non-attendance.

I meet with students who fall behind to discuss their study habits, schedules, and other

If students miss my class, I require them to make up lost work.


I encourage students to excel at the work they do.

I give students positive reinforcement for doing exemplary work.

I encourage students to work hard in class.

I tell students that everyone works at different levels and they should strive
to put forth their best effort, regardless of what level that is.

I help students set challenging goals for their own learning.

I publicly call attention to excellent performance by students.

I revise my courses to challenge students and encourage high performance.

I work individually with students who are poor performers to encourage higher levels of

I encourage students not to focus on grades, but rather on putting for their best effort.


I encourage students to speak up when they do not understand.

I use diverse teaching activities and techniques to address a broad range of students.

I select readings and design activities related to the background of my students.

I provide extra material or activities for students who lack essential background
knowledge or skills.

I integrate new knowledge about women, minorities, and other under-represented
populations into  my courses.

I have developed and use learning contracts and other activities to provide students
with learning alternatives for my courses.

I encourage students from different races and cultures to share their viewpoints on
topics discussed in class.

I use collaborative teaching and learning techniques and pair students with lesser
abilities with students with greater abilities.

Interactive: Seven Principles Learning Video 


Updating the Model


As education and technology evolve, the need for a more comprehensive integration of

online classroom sensibilities with the pedagogy of the seven principles becomes necessary.

The following is one schools attempt at updating the seven principles:






pdev501 - home. (n.d.). Retrieved from   http://pdev501.wikispaces.com/


SEVEN PRINCIPLES FOR GOOD PRACTICE. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://honolulu.hawaii.edu/intranet/committees/FacDevCom/guidebk/teachtip/7princip.htm


SEVEN PRINCIPLES FOR GOOD PRACTICE IN. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.msu.edu/user/coddejos/seven.htm


Using Hi-Tech Classrooms to Improve Learning: 7 Principles, 2007, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBhToaBDCY4&feature=youtube_gdata_player 






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Comments (2)

catherine.chuang said

at 4:44 pm on Apr 27, 2011

Wow, I like how you spaced out every main points! Really nice placement for the text, I actually read the whole thing! Great job Eric!

catherine.chuang said

at 8:03 am on Apr 28, 2011

Hi Eric, I added "Retrieved" and ":" since I saw that thy were added from my APA 6th edition book.

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