The King and I…

      “It’s a very ancient saying,

      But a true and honest thought;Anna

      That if you become a teacher,

      By your pupils you’ll be taught.

      As a teacher, I’ve been learning;

      You’ll forgive me if I boast,

      And I’ve now become an expert on the subject I like most…

     Getting to know you.”                                              [Cue music…]]

(Are you singing yet?!)

OK, now that I have your attention, this submission is NOT about a King, or about Anna, but it IS about getting to know you (or better, getting to know your students, and them getting to know you.

Seriously, I’ve found myself wondering why this student is always late to class; why this one always forgets to bring a pencil; or why that student just can’t read the assignment before class. OK, now take this one step further – why do I breeze into class, load them with a ton of content that leaves little time for thinking, questions, or even a conversation about the what – how – why – what’s next – why do it – why are we learning this – why am I teaching this?

I happen to read an article somewhere recently about getting students thinking by turning an assignment into a question to help me get to know the students and what they are thinking – or what they are already thinking about. See, 90% of my First Year Experience (FYE) class students are first generation college students. They don’t know what they don’t know, but I cannot answer if I don’t know what they are thinking about, where they are, and what issues and concerns they have at this point in the semester.

I’m going to try this experiment in my FYE class; not the typical assignment to ask them to ANSWER questions. Nope, this will be different. I’m asking them to ASK questions.

So, here’s my assignment:

Class:  We are one-fourth the way into the semester. Listed below are topics we will cover during the rest of the semester:

  • Self-motivation
  • Self-management
  • Interdependence
  • Self-awareness
  • Life-long learning & critical thinking
  • Emotional Intelligence

What are you curious about? 

What problems or issues are important to you? 

What topics matter to you? 

What questions do you wish you could answer?

What questions or issues are not listed?

Think carefully about this assignment.  Although there are no wrong questions, some questions are better than others. Generally, yes/no questions aren’t going to be as interesting to consider as issues and questions with many possibilities.

 The questions you raise will help to shape the direction of the rest of our semester and what topics we will cover more in depth. So, take a little time to think about questions.  Even if you think the issue has nothing to do with anyone else in class, it probably does.  So if you are puzzled by something, please include it.

 There is no special format – it can be written or video. I look forward to your “questions”!

I think I’m going to like this…Stay tuned.



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