Questions are the sign of a healthy classroom. Encourage students to ask all sorts of questions, especially open-ended questions that require process, experimentation, and research. Let them see that the instructor doesn’t “own” all the knowledge or have all the answers. You will be creating a classroom culture of inquiry & critical thinking.
And all the optimism, opportunity and rewards that come along with it.
It’s my first day! Wish me luck! When do you go back to school? Are you excited? Ready? What do you like best about the first day? For me…it’s that sense of starting a brand new adventure. New students. New faces, New dreams. Being in a room filled with dreamers is a wonderful feeling.
This article from US News & World Report “Top 10 Secrets of College Success” outlines the way college students can soar to the top of the class. Don’t let nerves get the best of you. Set out to succeed, make a plan and stick to it. The 10 tips in the article are a good starting point.
As a college prof who has been in the classroom for 17 years, I have to agree with the list. I am especially fond of #3: “Get to class!” and #8: “Get to know your prof!” I would say that in my many years of experience, with countless numbers of students, the ones that consistently do the best are there. In the seat. At every. Single. Class. Yes. We did something important today at that class you missed.
And they come to office hours. When they can’t make office hours, they send me an email to set-up an appointment. Don’t be afraid to reach out like that. We really (REALLY!) want you to come talk with us at anytime, not only when you are having difficulties, but for mentoring, advice about classes, and just to connect. And I promise, it is so NOT like getting sent to the principal’s office. We are kinda cool peeps in a “tweed jacket with elbow patches kind of way.” (Just kidding. I don’t own a tweed jacket.) Again, students who do connect with their instructors tend to do better overall, according to the research.
I’m going to put in a quick plug for one that isn’t on the list. #11, if you will. Make sure to get involved in campus life. There are literally hundreds of clubs, organizations, sports team (and not just varsity athletics, intramural, too!), and a variety of other groups to check out. Find what fits for you. It’s a great way to meet other students, make some new friends, and to really invest in college life.
Students that feel connected, with their peers, their professors, and their college, actually graduate at much higher rates of completion! So not only are you having fun & getting better grades, you are making progress toward your long-term academic goals.
Good luck to all of you as you start the new semester. If I can be of any help to you, please reach out. The comments are open. You can also follow us on facebook to get quick updates, articles and advice for college success. You know what to do…just click that blue button at the top of this page that says “Like.” Consider me your virtual college coach…here to help you make it to the finish line.
Good advice for a successful day & a happy life. Especially for us English professor/writer-types and creative people of all kinds. We need poetry, and song, and art, and connection, in all its forms. It’s good for the soul. It’s even better for fostering creativity.
I try to incorporate a little of each every day. How about you?
Make sure to take that little bit of time out to do some part of Goethe’s recipe for living a happy life.
Sunday is my favorite day of the week. It’s carefree, it’s lazy. It’s coffee at the kitchen table as the sun streams in and it’s walks in the morning with the breeze at my back.
There’s a simple secret to doing Sunday right…
The secret to a successful Sunday is found in the “not-doing.” If done right, the not-doing will set you up for a relaxed week ahead, no matter how busy you are, or how much is on the “to do” list.
And I should know. I start back at teaching in just 2 weeks, and I’m currently juggling & updating like a beast…two class webpages, course syllabi, and a whole bunch of other “first day” type stuff…but for today…
I’ll notice beauty. I’ll notice awesome. I’ll be amazed.
We all need to recharge our batteries occasionally. Take some time today to just breathe…see all the beauty around us…and be amazed. It’s my favorite part of Sunday!
We are all free to fly. Education gives us wings. We each have the power, the ability, and the freedom to fly. What we need is the belief.
This is why I write so much about the power of our beliefs. As educators, we need to closely examine our own beliefs. We need to know that we are showing up each day to do our best for all of our students.
For our students, sometimes, we need to get them to understand that we (teachers) will believe in them, until they believe in themselves. Until they believe that they are free to fly.
A child is not the place he or she was born, the amount of money they have, or the books they have read. The opportunity gap leads to a self-esteem and a belief gap. Often, the biggest obstacle first-generation students face when it comes to college success is not passing a class, or acing a test, but actually believing that they belong. Right here and now. In college.
Mentor a student. Help them believe. Change a life.
As promised, encore presentations of some of our most popular posts. This post “How to be a Scholar. 6 Steps to Encourage Critical Thinking.” is a reader’s favorite over on our Pinterest page, where it has been “repinned” many times. I like the visual appeal of the infographic and will once again use it this Fall in my Freshman Composition classes. The #1 most important skill for any college student in any discipline or major, is critical thinking.
Always Question! xo~Lisa, aka “The Happy Teacher” 🙂
As we get to the end of the semester and school year, we are expecting our students to demonstrate higher order thinking skills, or Critical Thinking. I like this infographic from Learning Commons at the University of British Columbia.
Thanks to its simple flow chart style, students can use it to clearly reflect on their own thinking. Students need to constantly question their own process, and those of others. They need to ask questions about the text they read, test possibilities, and allow for new discoveries.
Higher order thinking skills (HOTS) push our students beyond simple responses and elevate them to scholars and critics in their own right. Part of what’s vital in education is for students to learn to trust their own voice, while still questioning their thinking. What strategies do you use in your classroom to encourage critical thinking?
Subtitle: How to take a nap and be productive at the same time.
Hello, sunshine, ice cream cones, fireflies, warm nights and even warmer days. Hello, July! College Ready will be on semi-hiatus for the month, while we recharge, refresh, & unplug a bit, with our family and friends.
Why take a summer break? Well, you will find that your ability to be productive has a direct correlation to your ability to kick off your flip flops and plant your toes in the sand every once in a while. We all need to take the V-word (vacation) every now and again, so that we can come back renewed and ready for new challenges and opportunities.
Throughout the month, we’ll feature some fabulous encores of “Fan Fave” blog posts from the past year, along with our top-liked inspirational quotes. With gratitude & appreciation for all your support from all over the world~~Lisa