We all want to help the students learn and grow as human beings.
How are teachers doing? How do college students describe great teachers?
However much one may abhor the idea of teaching being a popularity contest, in some facets, popularity should be sought not for popularity itself, but as a medium to inspire and encourage students. Indeed, students themselves assert they prefer a teacher who cares that they learn, gets to know students, and is personable; such teachers help students achieve their goals of focusing in class, understanding the material, and developing a personal relationship with the teacher. These are but intermediary goals which help students enhance their grades, improve their careers, and increase their salary — ultimately achieving happiness, financial success, and a sense of accomplishment. Though it may not be surprising that students also prefer teachers who communicate well and provide dynamic lectures, the strong evidence supporting this notion may help instructors commit to clarity and variety in the classroom.
For teachers who are struggling to acquire the approval of their students, this study points to a few suggestions which are, fortunately, relatively easy to execute. Getting to know students personally, demonstrating a concern for student learning, and exhibiting personable character traits are simple notions that do not require an overhaul of a course structure, nor do they require a change in teaching style. Yet, these simple notions are among the most important characteristics when students describe great teachers.
Instructors of large classes should not bemoan the importance students place on getting to know the students. Discovering creative ways of connecting to students in a large class demonstrate more powerfully the instructor’s desire for personal connections. One of the authors teaches a large class and begins each lecture with a Know Your Classmates activity, where one student is singled out (based on a student information sheet completed by the student) for discussion. The student’s career interest is discussed and used to show how the impending lecture can be used in their desired occupation. This activity demonstrates a desire to know the students, and by demonstrating the usefulness of the course content it relays a sincere concern for student learning and gives them the
motivation to commit to the class—recall that committing to the class is a consequence of getting to 20know students, which helps compensate for the inability to personally know each student in a large class. Know Your Classmates is a wildly popular activity, one that students promptly note if the instructor fails to do at the start of class.
Meanwhile, this really isn’t the way for a parent to help any child. It seems a mother checked out all the ‘Gossip Girl’ books from a local library and has kept them for two years so youth couldn’t read them. Oh, ‘checked out’ doesn’t mean ‘looked at’ in this case- you got that, right?
From the article:
A Longwood mom who refused to return four Gossip Girl-inspired library books because she objected to their content took them back to the public library Thursday. …
After an article about Harden appeared in Thursday’s Orlando Sentinel, a man donated replacement books to the library and several others told the library they planned to send checks or books to replace the ones Harden was keeping. …
Harden owes $85 in fines but hasn’t paid them. She said she is hoping the library will waive the fines.
“It’s not that I lost the books or I didn’t feel like turning them in,” she said. “I want us to work together. Hopefully they have the same goals as I do.”
I have misplaced library books and eventually returned them. I wouldn’t want to be charged with theft. Still, her intent was quite different from mine – are such charges impossible? Yes, she has finally returned them, so perhaps she doesn’t need jail time or even a fine, but she would still get that criminal record. That would be worth the $85, I think.
Both links courtesy of Marginal Revolution.