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Old 06-21-2009, 05:27 AM
 
943 posts, read 2,643,716 times
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I am constantly learning about class room management by teaching my own classes and attending other college level courses. What an experience.

One frustration and challenge during the lecture part of the class is trying to determine if the students are engaged and paying attention. I can look for non verbal cues and of course test them but I want to be able to adjust my lecture based on continuing feedback from the students. Sometime no matter how hard I try to be interesting and informative I feel I am not connecting with a significant number of students. So I will look out into the class and pick out a student who appears distracted or bored and say, "tell the class what I just said" Usually they cant tell us and get red faced and angry and some students feel that I am being unfair.

I tell the students in the class that if they are not going to attend all class sessions or participate in class and pay attention, please drop the class immediately. What do you think?
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Old 06-21-2009, 06:38 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Rhode Island
5,977 posts, read 9,955,119 times
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I think you're being a good teacher and should keep doing what you're doing.

Students have become so entitled with this "everyone succeeds" and "whatever" mentality that the country is losing its competitive edge- or should I say has already lost it...

Any student who can't pay attention and contribute in a class room should be washed out. It is the instructor's right and responsibility to set and stick to standards.
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Old 06-21-2009, 06:48 AM
 
Location: Space Coast
1,989 posts, read 4,326,769 times
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Well, I have taught at the high school and at the college level. While I completely understand your frustration with students not paying attention, I don't think embarassing students is going to solve the problem - particularly at the college level. For college, I think it is perfectly reasonable to ask students to shut off cell phones and laptops and ask them to step into the hall for violating that policy (as long as that policy was clearly stated in the syllabus). Another thing I do is make participation part of the course grade. Of course it has to be done in a way that is easily justified (all about CYA in case of grade compleints later) and clearly layed out in the syllabus.
A friend of mine told me something she does with her large classes that I am going to try this fall. She calls it the "hot row". She reserves the front row of seats as the "hot row", and at least twice a semester students are required to sit in that row for a class and ask a relevant question about the course material during that class. At the end of class, she gets their name and checks it off on her roster. It may not get them to pay attention for ALL classes, but it's better than never.
Another thing I have seen work is the use of Clickers. During class, an instructor can ask the class a question (like a multiple choice). The students get a short amount of time to "click" in their answer, and the software can instantly tell the instructor what percentage of the class is "getting it". It can also record which students are getting it.
That's all I have time to type right now, but I'll check back later if I think of anything else.
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Old 06-21-2009, 11:39 AM
 
19,081 posts, read 20,559,521 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weekend Traveler View Post
I am constantly learning about class room management by teaching my own classes and attending other college level courses. What an experience.

One frustration and challenge during the lecture part of the class is trying to determine if the students are engaged and paying attention. I can look for non verbal cues and of course test them but I want to be able to adjust my lecture based on continuing feedback from the students. Sometime no matter how hard I try to be interesting and informative I feel I am not connecting with a significant number of students. So I will look out into the class and pick out a student who appears distracted or bored and say, "tell the class what I just said" Usually they cant tell us and get red faced and angry and some students feel that I am being unfair.

I tell the students in the class that if they are not going to attend all class sessions or participate in class and pay attention, please drop the class immediately. What do you think?
I don't know if embarrassing students, let alone adults since you teach adult learning (IIRC based on previous posts), is going to do much besides you getting a poor rating at the end of the semester from the students.

What you could try is to have interactive lessons and assigned groups during class time. For example, assuming you have at least 15 students, you can break them up into 3 groups. Lecture for 15-20 minutes, followed by a series of problem questions in need of resolutions, have the groups discuss for 5-10 minutes, and then the reps of each group would go to the chalk/dry erase board with responses. This would force the students to be accountable to eachother, not just you.

Or, you can inform your students at the beginning of class that a short paper will be due in the next class that covers today's lecture.

There are several things you can try. And there are learning sites for instructors that don't have a lot of experience in a class-room setting that might benefit you.
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Old 06-21-2009, 11:49 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Rhode Island
5,977 posts, read 9,955,119 times
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Quote: "I don't know if embarrassing students, let alone adults since you teach adult learning (IIRC based on previous posts), is going to do much besides you getting a poor rating at the end of the semester from the students."

Therein lies the rub- are the inmates being allowed to control the asylum or does a professor have a responsibility to set high standards of performance and achievement and not worry about being liked and giving students an easy ride?
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Old 06-21-2009, 11:56 AM
 
Location: NC
10,009 posts, read 8,432,685 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weekend Traveler View Post
I am constantly learning about class room management by teaching my own classes and attending other college level courses. What an experience.

One frustration and challenge during the lecture part of the class is trying to determine if the students are engaged and paying attention. I can look for non verbal cues and of course test them but I want to be able to adjust my lecture based on continuing feedback from the students. Sometime no matter how hard I try to be interesting and informative I feel I am not connecting with a significant number of students. So I will look out into the class and pick out a student who appears distracted or bored and say, "tell the class what I just said" Usually they cant tell us and get red faced and angry and some students feel that I am being unfair.

I tell the students in the class that if they are not going to attend all class sessions or participate in class and pay attention, please drop the class immediately. What do you think?
Haha this happened to me quite often due to the fact I had a weird learning difference, because of which, I often looked like I was not paying attention when, in fact, I really was. It startled a few of my professors, especially when they didn't think I was listening and I would raise my hand to comment on something or ask a question, but they all figured it out after a week or two.

Generally though I agree with you there really is no point in taking a class if one is just going to coast through with Cs or Ds. Though I do not think its fair to the students who are paying attention for you to ask students who are not paying attention what you just said. That just wastes their time re-hearing the same exact thing again and again. Instead you should ask students who do not seem to be paying attention a related question or to espouse on what they think of the previously stated material. If they are paying attention it allows the class to see a different angle of the argument or for you, as a professor to see where they are in their understanding. Also if they haven't been paying attention their bsing is just as embarrassing/entertaining and you can use the oppertunity when they get it wrong to expand on any points of the previous part of the lecture you think the class may need review on based on your persception of the class' comprehension as a whole.
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Old 06-21-2009, 12:03 PM
 
Location: NEPA
42 posts, read 78,130 times
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Well, it's a great way to make a student feel horrible, tick them off, look like a jerk, or any combo of the above. In my 4.5 years of undergrad I only had a prof or two who pulled stuff like this.
Your students are adults.

Maybe it's a more efficient method for lazy professors, but maybe consider reaching out to your students in a different way rather than wasting class time trying to embarrass them. Do you want them studying and reading because they're avoiding getting picked out in the middle of class and looking like a jackass, or do you want them to work hard because you maybe inspired them, interested them, encouraged them, whatever... Your students come to you with the same issues they had in lower levels of schooling, consider that this my be the place you can have a positive influence on their work ethic or just turn them into robots who work to satisfy the man after they graduate.
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Old 06-21-2009, 12:38 PM
 
Location: Cleveland
2,149 posts, read 3,228,869 times
Reputation: 2802
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weekend Traveler View Post
I am constantly learning about class room management by teaching my own classes and attending other college level courses. What an experience.

One frustration and challenge during the lecture part of the class is trying to determine if the students are engaged and paying attention. I can look for non verbal cues and of course test them but I want to be able to adjust my lecture based on continuing feedback from the students. Sometime no matter how hard I try to be interesting and informative I feel I am not connecting with a significant number of students. So I will look out into the class and pick out a student who appears distracted or bored and say, "tell the class what I just said" Usually they cant tell us and get red faced and angry and some students feel that I am being unfair.

I tell the students in the class that if they are not going to attend all class sessions or participate in class and pay attention, please drop the class immediately. What do you think?
I think you either: are very insecure with your ability to teach, have a sadistic streak, or both. There is no positive effect this could realistically have. Think of the teachers that actually inspired you and your peers -- did any of them pull petty crap like this? I doubt it.
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Old 06-21-2009, 12:47 PM
 
Location: Kirkwood, DE and beautiful SXM!
12,053 posts, read 19,140,593 times
Reputation: 31690
It can be difficult to keep all students engaged in learning, especially in a society where most things in their world are done on a phone. One thing that I do in my high school classes is to have an exit pass. A few minutes before the class ends, students are given an index card and I will ask one or two questions about what was discussed during class that day. Depending on the difficulty will depend on the points. It is enough time for them to answer and not enough time for discussion with a classmate to get the answer. Students actually look forward to them since I don't do it every day. I don't know if it would work with college students but it might be worth a try.

Another thing that you might do is to divide the students into groups of three or four and have each group take a portion of their lesson for the day. Let them prepare the lesson and teach to the others. I have also done this in high school and it is always interesting and a good learning experience for all.
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Old 06-21-2009, 12:48 PM
 
19,081 posts, read 20,559,521 times
Reputation: 13377
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollytree View Post
Quote: "I don't know if embarrassing students, let alone adults since you teach adult learning (IIRC based on previous posts), is going to do much besides you getting a poor rating at the end of the semester from the students."

Therein lies the rub- are the inmates being allowed to control the asylum or does a professor have a responsibility to set high standards of performance and achievement and not worry about being liked and giving students an easy ride?
The class room is not an asylum. The professor is paid by the students (for better or worse). Keep that in mind. Students rate instructors at the end of the semester so the instructor can learn what s/he's doing well and where s/he's having problems. Also, it's not as if one or two students hold a significant amount of weight in these ratings, but if the class, on average, has an issue with a prof in a particular area, it's probably something the prof is doing wrong.

To add, setting high standards does not equate to "repeat what I just said". If that's the best an instructor can come up with to engage his/her students, s/he might want to rethink the choice of teaching.
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