Teaching for Excellence

Marca V.C. Wolfensberger

Teaching for Excellence

Honors Pedagogies revealed

2012,  210  pages,  paperback,  26,90 €,  ISBN 978-3-8309-2823-2

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What exactly are the characteristics of honors pedagogy? What are the teaching strategies that are particularly relevant and successful for academically gifted and motivated students? In spite of the substantial body of literature about the practice of honors education, largely referring to the United States, very little systematic and empirical research has been done about honors pedagogy. This study contributes to a better understanding of honors pedagogies, focusing not just on what might distinguish honors teaching and learning from standard expectations and methodologies but also on how honors pedagogy offers both instructors and students an opportunity to fundamentally rethink their philosophy of education.

The present study points out the similar and different approaches and dispositions in American and Dutch honors teaching. Cultural differences, distinctive educational systems, and diverse priorities play a role in defining both the shared and unique perspectives on honors education in both countries. Therefore, a baseline comparison is made between American and Dutch honors teachers with respect to their teaching strategies.


Marca Wolfensberger has been active in honors education for the past two decades. She is an assistant professor and the honors director at the Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning at Utrecht University. Since 2009, she has headed the research center for Talent Development in Higher Education and Society at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen. She is a frequently invited speaker at both national and international institutions and conferences, and she has written many articles, reports, and book chapters on the topic of evoking excellence. Her book on ‘Talent for Tomorrow’ is widely used for faculty development in the field of teaching highly motivated, talented learners. Wolfensberger was awarded her Master’s degree, cum laude, in Regional Geography from Utrecht University. She works also as educational advisor and has co-founded educational programs. Marca Wolfensberger is a member of both policy and research oriented committees related to honors and fostering excellence.