Many teachers dedicate the first class reunion to a general description of the course and its requirements, and after answering questions about the course, either start the class or dismiss the class early. But there are many things you can do on day one to bond with students, prepare them for the term paper, and get them excited about the course material. According to student surveys, students want to know two types of information on the first day of class. They want to find out as much as possible about the type and scope of the course in order to be able to decide whether they want to continue with the course or to be able to better assess the work requirements for the semester. They are also curious about the teacher as a person. They want to know if you are being reasonable and fair with them, if you care about them as individuals, and if you care about the course itself.
A well-written syllabus distributed in first grade can go a long way in promoting a positive attitude in students, as it shows that the teacher cares about the course and has made an effort to plan it carefully. At a minimum, a syllabus should include the course objectives, topics, grading and examination procedures, reading assignments, attendance requirements, and your office location and office hours. By creating a comprehensive curriculum, you simplify the review of study requirements on day one. Even students who join the course late will receive all the important information they need to successfully complete the course.
Students, especially in large classes, want to feel like they are human beings and not just a name and ID number on an enrollment list. Course evaluation studies have shown a strong correlation between positive instructor ratings and students’ perceptions that the instructor cares about them as individuals. Additionally, the same research shows that positive attitudes toward the course and teacher motivate students to work harder and achieve more. So there are good reasons to show students right from the start that you see them as individuals and care about them as human beings.
Aside from the benefits already mentioned, there are other reasons to learn student names. Her ability to call her by name contributes to a relaxed and friendly classroom atmosphere. It allows you to stimulate class discussion by personally asking students to share their points of view. Also, it can transform a group of isolated and anonymous individuals into a community of people engaged in cooperative exploration of ideas and knowledge.
In small classes, learning student names can’t be difficult. If you are teaching a class of fewer than twenty students, you can ask students to identify themselves line by line and repeat what each student told you. Access the list using the pre-registration list at the beginning of each class. After collecting the flashcards, spend the first day and subsequent days reading the names on the cards, looking at each person, and trying to make a connection between the name and hometown, facial expression, hair color, or other distinctive traits . All of these methods are effective in classes with relatively small enrollments, but they share a common disadvantage: they take up classroom time that could be used for other purposes. Some faculty members have found ways to circumvent these disadvantages in large enrollment programs.
In large classes, ask your students to provide photos (labeled with their names) by the start of the second week of class. Review these photos as soon as you receive them and as often as you can until you learn their names. It won’t be long before you can identify every student in your class. You should return the photos to the students at the end of the semester so they can be given to other teachers who are using this technique. A seating plan and photos help you learn who your students are, regardless of class size, in less time. This method can provide an additional benefit: you will likely notice if someone misses several lessons and can get in touch with the student to discuss the problem he or she may be having. By making contact in this way, you show that you care about the student as an individual.
On the first day of class, give each student an index card and ask them to write their names, addresses, phone numbers, hometowns, and majors. Then ask them to write about their interest in your course and other courses or life experiences they’ve taken that relate to the subject of the course. You can also ask them who their heroes or heroines are, what their hobbies are, and what skills or talents they are most proud of. If you ask for personal information, you should emphasize that students are not required to provide anything they do not wish to share. Once you have collected these flashcards you can use them in a variety of ways – they can give you an idea of the interests and prior knowledge that students are bringing to the course. With this information, you can improve your perception of the material so that you don’t bore the more knowledgeable students or completely confuse or lose the less knowledgeable students in the class.
Another method that can be beneficial for you and your students is an ungraded short essay written on the first day of class. When well designed, short essays can reveal several important student characteristics, including perception, knowledge and attitudes about the topic, analytical and conceptual skills, and general writing ability. If you are teaching an art history class, show a slide of a lesser-known work and ask students to identify and describe the work’s style, symbolism, and era. If you are teaching about a foreign country, ask students to write about their perceptions and beliefs about that country. Reading her essays will help you understand students’ prejudices, attitudes, and prior knowledge of the subject and will help you identify issues you want to emphasize when teaching. When they’re done, return the first essay and ask them to compare their two answers. This gives them concrete indications of how their thinking may or may not have changed as a result of the term paper. You can collect the work and compare it yourself to find out how much your course has contributed to the intellectual development of your students.
Designing and administering a non-graded diagnostic test is another method you can use to measure students’ knowledge, perceptions, and ideas about the course. The more you know about your students’ knowledge or understanding of the subject, the easier it will be to focus on what you need to teach them. Many of the questions asked in the diagnostic exam can be used as questions for the intermediate and final exams – this enables you and the students to compare knowledge at the beginning and end of the course. You have a basis for assessing how much each student has gained by taking the course.
The suggestions above are designed to help you learn as much as possible about your students. Just as you have good reason to want to know more about your students, students appreciate knowing more about you than the curriculum says (name, office location, office hours and phone number). Your willingness to share about yourself helps break down the classroom hierarchy that impedes communication between you and your students. The first day of class is a good time to tell students about your personal or professional life. Each teacher must decide what self-disclosures are acceptable and relevant in the context of the teacher-student relationship, but some topics are relatively safe and easy to discuss—for example, your educational background and research interests. If you don’t feel comfortable talking about yourself in class, there are other ways to convey the same information. You can distribute an abbreviated resume or CV.
One way to show students what to expect in the course is to give them a taste of the course content. A science professor shows a fifteen-minute video presenting his subject. The film is colourful, exciting and motivating, and it reports that the students are entering the second grade to learn more. A social sciences teacher asks students to think about the questions they want the course to answer. Providing examples of course content can be accomplished in many ways, but the more successful methods are creative approaches that both introduce course concepts and engage students in the course content. In literature class, ask students to think about who they would most like to be if they could be a writer or a fictional character in a book they have read.
Thanks to Jeff C. Palmer | #opportunity #build #relationship #students