I want to be upfront and tell you that the ideas below are not original with me, I’ve heard Kim Priesmeyer, RoseMary Foncree, and others share some of these ideas before in different presentations and have just run across some of them in the book some of you have joined us in reading over the summer: How to Teach Adults by Dan Spalding.
I’m not including a long list so hopefully you won’t feel overwhelmed and will give some of these ideas a try in your class. Reply to this post with your experiences in using one or more of these ideas.
- Write your agenda on the whiteboard along one of the edges at the beginning of the class. This is great for helping students sense the pace, gives them some feeling of control, and helps you stay on track. Obviously, I’m not talking great detail, just the 4-6 main points and breaks. e.g. Prayer, Discussion on Workplace Ethics, Group activity, break, homework debrief, student presentations, break, finish presentations.
- Write any new or discipline-specific vocabulary words on the whiteboard – have someone pull up the definition on their smartphone, have two or three students, selected at random, use the word in a sentence, and then move on. A lot of times words relative to a specific discipline are used and we ASS U ME students know what it means when they may not. I’m convinced this one act will have profound impact upon students far greater than we can imagine
- Always bring a dry-erase marker with you to class. I have one in my bag which has a different color at each end so I only have to keep track of one marker. Main points should be made in black or blue for ease of readability in the back of the class with other colors used for emphasis.
- Start your class on time – even if all of your students aren’t there. I have visited a lot of classrooms and this is one area where I think we fail our students and our mission. By starting late we send a message that what we are doing isn’t that important and disrespects those who do show up on time. Don’t chastise those who are late (although do keep track of those who are tardy as directed in the Faculty Handbook) but do something meaningful at the early part of the class so there is greater incentive to being there on time. Of course, that means that you have to be there on time as well.
- End your class on-time. NOT early and no more than a few minutes after 10:00. The conversation may be VERY interesting but it places an undue burden on students who feel they have to stay when they have other commitments.
- Don’t hesitate to make a biblical reference, ask the students to research a biblical example or discuss a biblical principle related to the subject under discussion. That is our major distinctive and something we actually hope you are doing.
- Make sure the latter part of the class contains more energizing activities and discussions than lectures. Students will respond better and you will achieve greater learning if you keep this mind.
- The more students you can get up working on the whiteboard together the greater the engagement of the entire class.