Promote Learning in the Classroom, Oct. 2016

In its online blog last week, The Chronicle of Higher Education featured a post listing these ten things instructors can do to promote good learning (from a student survey):

  1. Know that it’s OK to humanize yourself (e.g., it’s OK if you’re having a rough day — we get it).
  2. Know students’ names. We get that this is hard if it is a big class, but it matters.
  3. Know who students are (e.g., Are some of us shy in class? Do we work or play sports or play in bands or lead extracurricular groups or sing or dance or juggle parenting and school or a hundred other things? Why did we decide to take this course? What do we hope to learn?).
  4. Assume students want to be there and are prepared.
  5. Create and foster mutual respect in the classroom. And really, doing No. 4 is a big part of No. 5. Well, actually most of this list supports this one.
  6. Recognize that sometimes life can get in the way of learning for students, so take the time to diagnose the problem (e.g., if a student is having trouble staying awake in class, it could be because they had to work overtime last night, not because they were out partying).
  7. Hold all students to the same rigorous expectations.
  8. Refrain from interrupting students to get a point across. We know that sometimes one of us can get long-winded and you may need to redirect; but we try not to interrupt you and it’s really nice when you don’t interrupt us.
  9. Please don’t feel you need to comment all the time in a full-class discussion. Sometimes we need you to guide the discussion, and sometimes we really don’t need you every turn.
  10. Listen to what students have to say.

How many of these attributes describe you?  The online blog also lists ten things students can do to promote good learning.  Are there steps you can take to encourage your students toward these behaviors?

If you would like to discuss this topic with CETL faculty development specialists, please attend the October 24th “Classroom Management” teaching talk (12:30-1:45); email Stacey Valliere at  (860-486-2686) to register.  Contact Suzanne LaFleur for more information or, if you prefer, to schedule a private consultation with a CETL specialist.