I recently read a blog post from Faculty Focus – The Teaching Professor blog. The title was “Caring about student matters”. This reminded me of the principle of the 3 C’s. Students want a teacher that cares about them, that challenges them and that is competent. I don’t remember where that quote came from but I have been challenged to develop the “caring” aspect of teaching throughout my career. Lowman posits that there are two dimensions which are demonstrated by exemplary teachers: Intellectual excitement and interpersonal rapport. WIthin the interpersonal rapport section of his book, he provides some reflections and techniques on student-teacher interactions such as eliciting feedback. For me, I have discovered that patterns of comments contained in student feedback can be insightful and provide opportunities for me to develop the skill of constructive feedback by modeling it. Some simple ways to show I care include learning names and using them. I also make it a point to talk with individual students before, after, and outside of class time. This relational approach seems to cut the teacher-student tensions of the classroom and produce a much better learning environment where students will risk responding to answers publically and receive correction much more readily. What strategies do you use to connect with your classes?
Other resources for developing a caring personae include:
- The article by Maryellen Weimer bring forward a reflection on the proper ways to show care for students. Check it out at this link: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/caring-about-students-matters/
- Lowman, Joseph. Mastering the techniques of teaching.
- Wilkinson, Bruce. The seven laws of the learner.