© 2019

Teaching Struggling Students

Lessons Learned from Both Sides of the Classroom

  • Offers a personal, accessible, and digestible account of the struggles students face in public universities today

  • Presents a road map for faculty to help created more informed strategies for reaching students

  • Fills a gap in the literature by utilizing a unique autoethnographic approach to exploring the challenges behind teaching and learning in higher education


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Laura M. Harrison
    Pages 1-9
  3. Laura M. Harrison
    Pages 33-53
  4. Laura M. Harrison
    Pages 55-76
  5. Laura M. Harrison
    Pages 77-96
  6. Laura M. Harrison
    Pages 97-118
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 119-121

About this book


“Within this book, Harrison gives us a unique gift. By looking from the inside outward, and placing herself in a student-researcher-faculty member liminal space, she offers an empathic, self-aware, and smart autoethnographic telling of what it is like to struggle inside the college classroom. I highly recommend this work to anyone in a position to support today's college students.”
Amanda O. Latz, Associate Professor, Ball State University, USA

“As a college classroom teacher for more than two decades, I found Harrison’s exploration of the complex pedagogical space between professor and student immensely illuminating. Her auto-ethnographic journey both elucidates important barriers to student learning (e.g., expert blind spots; the limits of grit) and provides practical strategies for more empathically teaching struggling students. Reminiscent of Parker Palmer, Harrison also challenges us to reflexively engage our students and to eschew the siren call of instructional training and efficiency-limited technology to employ a deeply human, self-reflective and relational form of pedagogy.”
Tracy Davis, Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs, Western Illinois University, USA

This book tackles the phenomenon of limited learning on campuses by approaching it from the point of view of the author, an educator who writes about the experience of being, simultaneously, a college student and a college professor. The author lays out her experience as a student struggling in an introductory linguistics class, framing her struggles as sites ripe for autoethnographic interrogation. Throughout the book, the author melds her personal narratives with the extant research on college student learning, college readiness, and the interconnectedness of affect, intellect, and socio-cultural contexts. This book poses a challenge to the current binary metanarrative that circles the college student learning conundrum, which highlights either the faculty or student perspective, and unfolds this unnecessary binary into a rich, nuanced, and polyvocal set of perspectives.


Pedagogy Higher Education Autoethnography Student Learning College Teaching

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Ohio UniversityAthensUSA

About the authors

Laura M. Harrison is Associate Professor in the Higher Education and Student Affairs Program at Ohio University, USA. 

Bibliographic information

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