This blogpost and podcast is for our colleagues in higher educations, professors, the world over.
This is #7 in our series on teaching: Course Evaluations
SC 96 #7. Course Evals: Faculty-Student Interaction
How do our students perceive us?
FACULTY – STUDENT INTERACTION
The instructor’s respect for students
- This is one of those questions that can influence the whole evaluation.
- This is something that the students perceive, rightly or wrongly.
- How we respond to students questions is key to our respect for them.
- Students often have a hard time speaking up to ask a question.
- Many students have a fear of speaking up in class. For them it is a risk.
- Student: “If I ask a question will I look dumb?”
- Student: “If I ask a question I am admitting that I don’t get it”
- How do we professors respond to student questions? Are we helpful or do we respond like the question is a bother?
- How do you interact with students in class?
- How do I respond to a student who I don’t know very well?
- Slow down and find time to meet with the student. OR
- The student may need a non nonsense brief answer.
- Student: “I realize the paper was due on Tuesday, here it is.”
- Legitimate questions that help their learning are always welcomed.
The instructor’s concern for student progress
- This question implies that we are watching all along the way.
- First year students will typically need more help as they begin their college careers.
- Sometimes the best way we can be respectful and responsive to their needs is to let them crash and burn.
- It is probably better for a student to crash and burn in their first semester rather than in their junior year.
- Our college students are adults and allowing them to fail is important.
- College is the great half way house between childhood and adulthood.
- In the workforce, your boss is not going to say, “Hey, you missed that deadline, just wanted to make sure you were aware of that.”
- I see a lot students who don’t have that work ethic or adult responsibility yet.
The instructor’s willingness to listen to student questions and opinions
- If a professor is going to invite questions, then the answer to those questions is key.
- We need to take the question seriously and not give the students the impression that “Oops that was the wrong question, I know where I want to go and you didn’t make it.”
- I try very hard to make sure that every student who rose their hand has an opportunity to speak.
- Allow enough time when you plan your lecture for questions to be asked.
- Question asking is a great opportunity for students to get into a more interactive mode of learning.
The availability of extra help for this class (taking into account the size of the class)
- We can be vigilant about our office hours and remind students during class that we are there.
- When we are teaching up to 160 students a semester, we simply can’t manage that. We can refer them to resources on campus such as a writing center.
- Part of college is understanding where to get help. We are not their personal tutor.
- As their professor, I am trying to get out of the parent mode.
- How can we predict that we are going to score low in this category?
- Sometimes an individual student, who is very unhappy, will influence other students.
- One solution is to place the student in a group leadership position.
- Another solution is to invite the student to coffee and really connect with them to gain an understanding of where they are at and also to communicate where I am at.
- Once the professor is defensive and is perceived that way, things go downhill pretty quickly.
- The RED FLAG of the silent classroom!
- We need to step back and get a sense of what is not going well.
- You can take an informal survey to gain an understanding of what is going on with the students.
- You can turn an activity over to the students in order to break up the dynamic.
- Don’t try to correct things without knowledge.
We welcome your feedback so we may continue to honor our mission statement and help students, the world over.
Daniel & David
SC 97 #7. Course Evals: Faculty-Student Interaction
NEXT FRIDAY – – – – – SC 98 #8. Course Evals: Grading / How is our grading perceived?
SC 99 #9. Course Evals: Learning
Do our students believe they are learning?
SC 100#10. Course Evals: Student Engagement
Are our students engaging?
We will begin the new year with a series that we are very excited about…
Creating Positive Collegial Relationships