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Students often focus on specific course content without recognizing how the skills and abilities they develop across courses will benefit them in their professional lives. Instructors can motivate students by explaining how various skills will serve them more broadly in their professional lives.
Help students develop more sophisticated ways of organizing knowledge, by presenting contrasting cases, or two items that share features but differ in critical ways. Although cases are often used in teaching, they tend to be most effective when presented with some compare and contrast analysis versus in isolation.
Do not assume that students, especially those who are new to the content area, will see the logical organization of the material you are presenting. They may not see basic relationships or category structures. Provide students with the “big picture” view that presents the key concepts or topics in your course and highlights the relationship. This big picture helps students see how the pieces fit together.
At the beginning of the semester, rather than laying out a set of requirements for students, outstanding teachers talk about the promises of the course, about the kinds of questions the discipline [or course material] will help students answer, or about the intellectual, emotional, or physical abilities that it will help them develop. They also explain what students will be doing to realize those promises. Outstanding teachers invite rather than command.
Although we often expect students to automatically link what they are learning to prior knowledge, they may not do this automatically. Help students activate relevant prior knowledge by highlighting particular lectures, discussions, or readings in relation to material learned previously in the semester.
As a starting point for finding out what prior knowledge students bring to your course, talk to colleagues who teach prerequisite courses or ask to see their syllabi and assignments. This can give you a quick sense of what material is addressed, and in what depth. It can inform you to differences in approach, emphasis, terminology, and help you address potential gaps or discrepancies.
Give students ideas about how to study and prepare for class. Give examples of study strategies and examples of questions they should think about when approaching course material. Estimate how much time they should spend outside of class to study. For more tips visit http://teaching.berkeley.edu
A key factor in student success is the attitude of the instructor. An instructor’s enthusiasm can motivate students. An instructor’s facial expressions, energy, and intonation are as important as what the instructor says. When instructors take time to reflect on the passions they feel for their discipline or profession and they communicate this to others, explicitly and implicitly, they can dramatically improve their teaching effectiveness.
Email can provide a successful avenue of connection and information between students and faculty outside of the class, but can also create expectations and workloads that are unmanageable. To save time, set electronic office hours when you’ll be available live (through chat) or when you will respond to emails. Also, you can create one email by using student questions from individual email questions and generate a class “FAQ” list to post on the course website.