Teaching Tips

Yeah, me either…

Have you ever gone to one of your classes and thought that the students would understand exactly what you were explaining and that you would be on the same page only to find that you were not on the same page?  Yeah, me either…

Yesterday was the first class of the semester, so I introduced some keys terms that we will explore throughout the semester.  I figured my students hadn’t heard the terms explicit and implicit before, but when I did ask them if they knew what “explicit” meant, several of them said the word means something inappropriate. And just like that I realized the importance of making sure that my students and I are understanding the terms, concepts, and ideas in a similar manner.

From their vantage point, “explicit” meant inappropriate because they had seen the phrase “contains explicit content,” and they are not wrong.  They had a definition, reason, and example of what the word “explicit” meant from their perspective. I appreciate how they reminded me that our language is multifaceted and layered AND how important it is for us all to be aware of the context that we use the language.  

Another example that comes to mind is the word “drive.”  When you see “drive,” what do you think? Are you picturing being behind the wheel of a vehicle or are you thinking about motivation?   Both definitions are accurate, but the way in which the word is used matters. Provide content to avoid the “me either” moments! 🙂

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