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Teaching Resources

Engaging Students
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active learning motivation

discussion techniques

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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 semester.

Adapted From:
The Teaching Professor. December, 2004. pgs. 8-9.

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