February 5th, 2008

Tips for Getting Students to Take Responsibility for Learning


One of the embarrassing parts of doing The Teaching Professor newsletter is discovering how much good material I miss even though it seems as though I’m always reading. Just yesterday I was reading a book for which I’ve agreed to write a foreword, and there was a reference to an article I should not have missed. It’s in a journal I regularly read, but apparently I was asleep at the wheel or reading with very dirty glasses.

It’s a short piece but it contains a great list of “ten strategies for getting students to take responsibility for learning.” Here’s the list. Read the article for some pithy commentary on how and why each one works.

  • Ask your students why they are taking the course.
  • Get your students to come to class prepared (yes, she proposes how).
  • Help your student attain the proper mindset for class.
  • Make participation and interaction integral parts of the course.
  • Make your students responsible for each other.
  • Teach your students to behave responsibly in groups.
  • Model higher cognitive skills.
  • Have student analyze their learning experiences.
  • End class in a meaningful way.
  • Don’t try to save your students.

Reference: Coffman, S. J. (2003). Ten strategies for getting students to take responsibility for their learning. College Teaching, 51 (1), 2-4.