Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quest for progress

I'm always trying to improve my teaching, even if I find it difficult to follow through on all the ideas I might have. It helps me to tell my classes what my personal goals are for the class, so they can know that I, too, am continuing to work and get better, and don't hink I have all the answers.

This semester, in both my classes, I'm trying the technique of sending e-mails outside of class for two purposes: (1) to reinforce something important from the previous class, and (2) to set a particular expectation for the next one.  Much of the frustration or disappointment we feel with students not being prepared, I think, is based on not communicating clearly what they should be prepared to do.  I'm going to test that theory this semester.

My university's Instructional Development Center has a blog where professors are asked to write periodically in reflection on their teaching.  I've read the first couple of posts this year with interest, and left comments.  It's good to be in company with colleagues who care about their students' learning, and think together about how best to foster it.  I'm sure all of us with higher education experience know that such an orientation is by no means universal.  If we can give students a taste of professors who have it, though, maybe they'll gain the courage to demand it of all their instructors, though.  I think they should.

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