What Did They Remember?

I am an instructor in the trades that primarily teach second year students.  Over the years with the content of material being taught changing, and now with even a shorter time to teach it in, that over the summer some of the students do end up forgetting or are still not sure of what they really were taught the previous semester.  Being almost three and a half months from being in a formal classroom/lab setting the idea of getting back into the swing of learning again might be a bit over whelming.  Unless they had a job or were directly exposed to the course work they were taught, or even if they found out a different perspective on the matter, I like to find out what they remember or gained from the previous year.  The first day of lecture I hand out a very simple questionnaire to the second year students. This could be done as a “look up in Blackboard Assignment” prior to them getting to class but that can be to your discretion.  The questions I ask are simple; 1. Any clarification of subject matter from last year, basically, what might still be a little fuzzy.  2. Over the summer did you use any information or talents you gained from last year and what? 3. What are your expectations to learn this year? my class specifically.  And 4. What are your goals for this year and what are you going to do to achieve them?  I collect the answers and review what might be a common theme in “whats fuzzy”. Gives me an insight on what I would have to possibly go over or cover more in-depth to carry them to the next level. I then take the portion of what they want to learn and look for a common thread and sometimes even tweak my lesson plans to accommodate those interests.  I also review their goals with them at mid term in order to determine if they feel they are on track with the expectations of the class.

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