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:
- 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.
- Peer-to-peer learning and well-conceived group work are always popular.
- No matter how much or how little reading you assign, it is always “too much.”
- I still speak too fast.
- How much information one does or does not put on the PowerPoint slides is constantly in need of negotiation.
- Students appreciate being treated like adults, even when that means you ask more of them.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.