Professors’ Perspective: Starting the Class Well

In Education, Writing (all kinds) on March 14, 2016 at 3:00 AM

With the high price of education, the experience of taking a course can be greatly improved with a well-organized classroom environment that is also fun to learn in. From the professor’s perspective, here are some ways to make that happen:

· A professor needs to understand that students coming into the class may view the person as a complete stranger. That initial class is a great chance to get to know the students and let them know the experience you bring to the subject matter. This can make all the difference in the student deciding to stay in your course, or either choosing another section or another course all together
· A professor has to be interested in getting to know their students just as much as the students need to know about him or her. Creating these bonds with students makes a huge difference in student success down the road. Richard E. Lyons from his website and books linked to, recommends creating a student profile on each student so you can get to understand the experience they also bring to the subject matter, as well as the special talents they have
· Early in the course, a professor should have an informal class evaluation so they can get to know if their teaching style is effective for the classroom environment. One of the methods that is often used in teaching is the “stop, start and continue” exercise given in class anonymously. A professor will ask all of the students to write down what they would like him or her to stop doing, what they would like the professor to start doing and also what they would like the professor to continue doing. This is a great way to find out if a professor is on the right track
· If it is an English writing class, especially in first year, it may be a good idea to ask the students to do a non-graded writing sample as their first assignment. This way, a professor can identify any writing problems in a student before those same problems affect their marks on graded assignments
· There is a movement in education known as “the art of not lecturing” and many professors are aiming to do just what this adage says. Getting students involved in discussion and the professor becoming more of a facilitator of the classroom environment, rather than a “sage on the stage” by lecturing for hours suits the sometimes attention-deficient generation we live in where is so much tugging at our concentration. Getting students involved and/or having them do many in-class exercises can do a lot to make sure they do not sit there during a professor’s lectures chatting to their friends on Facebook if there are computers in the classroom

A professor’s task is a challenging one, however with a lot of planning, preparation and thought going into the process of executing the courses they have before them, everything can turn out to be a win-win situation for everyone involved.

A professor should not be seen as the enemy, rather as part of the learning team towards the success of their students.

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