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65: Five Ways College Teachers Can Improve Their Instruction

Most people who teach at the college level do so without any formal training. In this episode, Norman Eng, author of Teaching College: The Ultimate Guide to Lecturing, Presenting, and Engaging Students, shares five strategies college teachers can...

Updated on July 12
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Key Smash Notes In This Episode

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Designing solutions to problems and how to help students truly understand.

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Ultimately, a teacher must understand the principles behind marketing regarding communication and comprehending where a student comes from. A teacher must understand a student's need and their job is not just to teach, but to get a student to be a different and better person.

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Create a student avatar. Instructors must know who their students are and what drives them. To do so, write a paragraph summary of individual students.

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What is the most important thing a student wants to get out of the class/out of the program/out of the Major? What specific obstacles are they facing? What one thing do they wish professors knew about the way they work?

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Get to know students names. College teachers do not always recognize the importance of this compared to K-12 teachers. Professors should also encourage students to get to know each other's names.

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Instead of calling only on students who raise their hands to answer questions, this technique prompts teachers to call on students randomly. But, teachers cannot use this to catch a student when they are not paying attention or else the student will resent the teacher. It has to be done genuinely and give students an opportunity to shine. Cold-calling must also be used consistently in every single class to spur participation.

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If a student responds with, "I don't know?" about a question they are asked, a teacher can pose that same question to another student, then has the original student simply repeat, rephrase, or add to the answer provided. This way each student knows they cannot simply opt out of answering, by saying "I do not know," but at the same time they can get help when needed.

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Research indicates that they must know how to place it in the context of their lives.

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Teachers should not just lecture. Their job is to take content and break it into bite size pieces while creating an experience that will make sense of the information. Group collaboration, videos, field trips, etc. allow for meaningful experiences that impact students beyond the classroom.

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