Things My Students Have Reminded Me Of

Term is finished and I had my students fill in another anonymous (and voluntary) survey. Therefore, I’ve decided to talk about that, and come back to in-class reading assignments next time. Don’t worry, this will be short and sweet, I promise.

So what did my students have to say? The results of the survey weren’t surprising, but they did remind me of a few important things. In no particular order:

  1. The things which show up under “things I liked best” are often the same things that show up under “things I liked least.” This year, it was the lecture of the public sphere and our discussion of sports media that peppered both the best and worst lists.
  2. Peer-to-peer learning and well-conceived group work are always popular.
  3. No matter how much or how little reading you assign, it is always “too much.”
  4. I still speak too fast.
  5. How much information one does or does not put on the PowerPoint slides is constantly in need of negotiation.
  6. Students appreciate being treated like adults, even when that means you ask more of them.
  7. You can actually convince students to read and think about something that is bloody hard to understand, but they will not enjoy it. Sometimes learning is a lot like Buckley’s: it tastes awful, but it works.
  8. Enthusiasm matters in a classroom, and students will be more tolerant of your occasional errors when they can tell you’re really trying and that you really care.
  9. People like it when you’re topical (this was easy to do when teaching media ethics, but is slightly more challenging when teaching Tudor/Stuart Britain).
  10. Sometimes, you need to leave space for silence. Real learning requires space and time to digest information and, occasionally,  it’s helpful to pause.

That’s all for now. But next time, I really will talk about my favourite in-class reading assignment.

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