Whether it’s a student who is texting during class, an online student who makes minimal comments to the discussion board, or a teacher who marches nonstop through mountains of material, the learning environment is defined by a combination of individual behaviors, and everybody contributes to what that environment becomes.
I am unabashedly proud of my pedagogical article resource file. I’ve been collecting good articles on teaching and learning since the early ’80s. I use the file almost every day, and in the process of looking for a particular article, I regularly stumble onto others whose contents I remember when I see them but have otherwise forgotten.
I got the idea for this post from the one-page “Teaching Tactics” feature in Teaching Theology and Religion. Faculty author Sara M. Koenig sets the context. “Most of us have had an experience in the classroom of a student saying something so offensive that it feels like a personal attack on us as professors.” (p. 51)
There’s no discounting the importance of the first day of class. What happens that day sets the tone for the rest of the course. Outlined below are a few novel activities for using that first day of class to emphasize the importance of learning and the responsibility students share for shaping the classroom environment.
Communication educators have taken a well-known typology of power and applied it to teachers. According to this theory-based schematic, individuals exert influence over other individuals based on five different sources of power.
For quite some time now I’ve been interested in a widely held set of assumptions faculty make about the need to assert control at the beginning of a course. The argument goes something like this: When a course starts, the teacher needs to set the rules and clearly establish who’s in charge. If the course goes well, meaning students abide by the rules and do not challenge the teacher’s authority, then the teacher can gradually ease up and be a bit looser about the rules.
In previous articles I’ve offered effective teaching strategies for building student engagement by setting the tone with the syllabus and first classes. Today we move to the general classroom atmosphere. The following suggestions will help you build an atmosphere of constant engagement, passion and learning.