Dean, School of Culinary Arts
Math Support Specialist, Academic Success Center
As educators, we know that deep learning involves change. In order to be receptive to change, our students must approach their college studies with an open mind for individual growth. Although adult learners typically approach their education with a readiness to learn, other students lack the grit required to overcome obstacles that challenge them. Let’s look at modeling growth mindset in ourselves and identify ways to teach the principles of perseverance to our students.
Learn about your students
It is not just about knowing their name but learning how to pronounce their name and doing this in the first week. Make it a top priority to repeat their name when students ask questions, have comments, and greet them by name as they enter the room. There are many first week introductory games that build on learning about your students not only as an individual but also as a student. You should also have your students learn about their instructor. A great game to do this is asking students to interview you. This allows the student to decided what they would like to know about you. This strategy will help build the emotional need of the relationship.
Reduce the power differential between instructor and student
Providing students with choices throughout the learning experience allows the objectives to be met and shifts the focus (power) to the student to build on the social need of the relationship. This will motivate the students to learn the content and connects them to the learning process. Using a flipped classroom approach the instructor is able to have the students bring in their own activities, shared experiences, and even test questions. Letting your students know that you were once a student and giving them tips on how you learn best will open up dialogue to have the student share how they learn best. The insider scoop is a way to connect with students giving them secrets in how to study, how to be a better student and making them feel special like sharing a well kept secret.
Keep open communication
Being in-tuned with your classroom environment and keeping an open-mind on student suggestions to the learning process shows that you can be flexible and adapt to the student’s educational needs. This also works in having students be able to communicate with you on why they might be struggling with completing assignments. This does not mean that you can’t have rules and policies in place but listening to student’s challenges allows the student to discuss and work out possible solutions. The second step to this strategy is to follow up with the student on their communication. This could be a simple conversation on how they recovered from an illness, or death of a family member or a challenging problem to the content. The follow up shows that the communication is not a one-way street but an open continuing dialogue.