Engaging students in the classroom
experience, whether it is a small or large class, a requirement
or an elective, is a very important although sometimes daunting
task. Below are some suggestions derived from research as
to what faculty can do to make the classroom experience more
interesting, and engaging.
Understand that the majority of your
students would rather be somewhere else than in your
class. This is not a scenario unique to you, most college
students feel this way about all their classes.
Therefore, it is important to make the content interesting and
relevant to the students. By doing this, students will be
more engaged in the material and more interested in the content
and in the class.
Make sure you teach in a way that is
comfortable for you. If you are comfortable in class your
students will be comfortable as well, which will automatically
lead to a more interactive environment.
Think about the class from an
outsider's perspective. Is it that one class you
dread going to? If you are miserable in class imagine how
your students must feel. Think of what you would want the
class to be like if you were in their shoes. Or better
yet, ask them what they expect the class to be like. Then
you can alter anything that needs it to help make the class
more enjoyable for both you and your students.
Teach passionately and grade
compassionately. Don't be afraid to raise your
voice a little, or spend a little more time on the things that
really interest you. Also, set high standards of academic
achievement, but don't set impossible standards. If
students feel that they do everything they can and they still
cannot get an A, they may just stop trying. Make sure you
clearly set out your expectations, and stick to them throughout
The Teaching Professor. December, 2004. pgs. 8-9.
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