Learning-Centered Community Colleges

The Difference Between Teaching and Telling

Creating More Learning-Centered Community Colleges is the title of a “monograph” written by Terry O’Banion in 1997, and published by the League for Innovation. Everything O’Banion had to say about community colleges applies to universities as well. Later this year I will publish a series based on his work. For now, I would like simply list the principles he espouses. According to O’Banion, the environment we want to create for our students is one that …

  1. … creates substantive change in individual learners.
  2. … engages learners in the learning process as full partners, assuming primary responsibility for their own choices.
  3. … creates and offers as many options for learning as possible.
  4. … assists learners to form and participate in collaborative learning activities.
  5. … defines the roles of learning by the needs of the learners.
  6. … along with its learning facilitators* succeed only when improved and expanded learning can be documented for its learners.

* Those learning facilitators are the instructors.  I bet you knew that.  🙂

These six principles describe, in major part, what distinguishes teaching of telling. I will expand on these with tips and advice for what you can do to create a learning-centered classroom.

© 2010 Paul A. Hummel, Ed.D.

Revised June 26, 2010


About Dr. Paul A. Hummel, Ed.D.

My name is Paul Hummel, and I often introduce myself to others as a recovering engineer. If you are familiar with the Dilbert cartoons, let me simply say that I lived all of that. I started my college saga at Illinois Institute of Technology. Eventually, I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management. I worked for many years in industry, and during this time I did some college adjunct teaching. During my career I held several managerial positions in industry, the last as Director of Technology of a division of a Fortune 500 corporation. Then, in 1996, with minimal planning or forethought, I found myself working as a manufacturing consultant on behalf of Elgin Community College (ECC). My career in higher education began to take shape. I fell in love with ECC and with the mission of community colleges in general. I worked fulltime and occasionally taught college courses for my institution and two other colleges. After a couple years I set a goal to move over to the “credit side of the college” and eventually become a college administrator. In 2006, having earned my doctorate in education, I achieved that goal. I was hired by Waubonsee Community College as Dean for Technology, Mathematics and Physical Sciences. I have had the great fortune of working at two excellent colleges. The insights I want to share are drawn from the various college positions I have held. At ECC, in addition to my consulting role, I coordinated non-credit professional development training programs for three years and spent four years advising students in the TRiO Student Support Services program. That position helped me understand college education from the perspective of today’s college students. After seven years at Waubonsee, I retired April 30, 2013. I now devote my knowledge and skills to upgrading and expanding the websites I created beginning with Adjunct Assistance. I have three other websites: College Teaching Tips, Keys for College Success and Lighthouse for Learning. A lot of work lies ahead for me in terms of upgrading and expanding each of these websites, but I could not be more excited about fulfilling the vision I have for helping college instructors and their students succeed.

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