Teaching Tips

In the Classroom, One Size Does Not Fit All

On his blog, Pedagogy Unbound, David Gooblar says, “If you really want to make sure that all students have the chance to maximize their learning, you need to tailor your teaching to the ones sitting in front of you. That means finding out how much they know about a topic, trying to discover how they learn best (and encouraging them to discover for themselves), and figuring out how the particular group dynamic in your class affects learning. It may also mean diverging from the usual way you do things.

So the next time you stand in the front of a classroom, instead of starting the way you usually do—however you usually do—begin instead by talking with your students. Ask them about their experiences with your subject before they enrolled in your course. Ask them what they think about the syllabus topics that you haven’t gotten to yet. Try to uncover their misconceptions, confusions, and prejudices. Take a little time, in every class period, through formal or informal means, to really listen to your students, and let that shape how you teach.

That’s not easy, but I assure you it is worthwhile. Aside from any effect on your teaching approach, such a gesture will show students that you respect them as scholars. It will signal that they are full members of a scholarly community. It will let them know that their learning is the point.

No matter how ingenious a teaching strategy is, it will not work in all situations, with all students. We all need to do a better job of listening to students, learning about them, and working to find the best way to get through to them. We’re right to have high expectations and to ask them to go that extra mile in the service of our courses. It’s only fair that we do the same for them.”  To read the entire post, click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *