Lecturing isn’t solely about ensuring students pass coursework and exams, but how teachers inspire their students. Teachers have the tough role of engaging students from the first meeting, and to form a solid first impression, or even to correct a bad one. Students like most individuals judge teachers by their demeanour, posture, walk, feedback from coursework and even how they talk. Teaching young adults in 2015 isn’t a simple task with current digital innovations pressuring classic learning methods and attention spans. However, there are things that lecturers can do to create successful lessons and inspire students. Here is some advice from academics on how to enthuse undergraduates and explains how to recognise how good is your teacher.
Student see, student do
Students mimic or even digest lecturer’s movements and actions. Therefore, a good example will spread throughout the lesson and lecture seats. Genuine enthusiasm will win the hearts and minds of the students, and a lecturer’s enthusiasm will cause a ripple effect. Another successful technique is to praise students – as students may feel they only receive constructive or negative feedback on coursework but never understand what they are doing right throughout the course. Students who receive positive emails about their participation in class or their performance will feel encouraged to continue and to be more confident.
Confidence is key, but at the correct dosage
Once students watch their teachers become passionate about their subject they feel able to do so as well. Confident lecturers provide a sense of security and trust between student and teacher, however, cockiness can repel students from seeking help or speaking up. Lecturers who have the confidence to draw debate from their students or their innermost thoughts is completing what they have set out to do. Prospectus’ are filled with smiling pictures of students who are happy one hundred percent of the time, and are usually pictured in a chatty debate – but that isn’t going to happen, and a teacher who is confident enough to experience an array of emotions alongside their students will achieve the best results.
Make a connection
At a simple level, a teacher’s job is to make connections, from student to teacher, text to the student, theory to an example, and so on. Teachers at university have hundreds of students’ names floating through their heads and weeks of lesson plans on the edge of their tongue, but an important part of their job role is to read and understand the individuals in front of them. Some students may be shy, introverted, extroverted, or wish to often share their opinion. A teacher should evaluate the signs they receive from their class and individual students, from who gets involved in a group discussion, to those that rarely voice their thoughts. Classroom involvement is vital, but coursework and exam results also show how well a student is doing within the class.
What students hate the most
Students dislike confrontation and the feeling of being pushed into engaging within the lesson. Secondly, students feel disconnected if teachers have static facial expressions or a lack of eye contact – it can create a divide between the two parties. Also, changing how the material is presented keeps students interactive with presentations, lectures, screenings and discussion, and only using one of these can make lessons stagnant. Lastly, the most significant damage to a student’s confidence is when a teacher doesn’t value their contribution or uses it as a bad example.
A shoulder to cry on
Although higher education isn’t a pack of tissues for students, it is still an emotional time for many individuals that need support throughout their degree. Personal tutors should understand that many things can affect how a student performs, from personal issues, family situations and even changes to their degree. Maybe a student’s favourite teacher has left, or their module they were looking forward to studying has been cancelled, or even a bad mark on their coursework can affect their behaviour. Some students are too afraid to speak out and need coaching to come forward with their problems. Regardless, when a student does notify a teacher or tutor about their issues or concerns, they should feel supported and listened to.
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