Are we student-ready?

Over the past few of semesters, I have participated in several of the FPS 2.0 courses, namely Teaching Inclusively, Teaching Methods, and Ed Eval. Since taking the first two and while most recently completing the third, I have continued to ponder a couple of related themes: the benefits of incorporating universal design and  the identification of our audience. With both themes still churning in my mind, I recently joined the AACC Pathways Institute #1 Team in San Antonio, TX as a faculty representative. We had the opportunity to hear from many excellent speakers during our 2.5 days; one of which was Kay McClenney. If you have been at the college over the past four years you may recall that Kay visited our campus as part of our introduction to Achieving the Dream. Much in the same way that her phrase “students don’t do optional” resonated a battle cry for change in my student success mindset, so did her newest mantra: are we student-ready? While acknowledging the plethora of worthy efforts intended to help colleges prepare for today’s students, Kay posed the question to the audience: In all of our efforts to help students be ready for college, are we also considering if we are student-ready? In other words, are we ensuring that processes that are clear to us (with the inside track) are also clear to students with whom we work? For instance, as an instructor, I have developed policies and processes for how my classroom will run. These are included in my course syllabus to help students be ready for my class. By viewing the syllabus from the student’s perspective rather than my own, I can consider: If I were a student in my course, would the process be as clear or obvious to me? If not, what might I do differently to change that? Imagine the benefits to both me and my students if I take the time to consider: Am I student-ready?

One thought on “Are we student-ready?

  1. Not student-centered as much as learning-centered initiative

    If I was a student in my class, I would not be a passive learner, as possibly conditioned by my K-12 education; second, I would be an active learner and ask more questions of inquiry and clarification; third, I would ask more questions of myself – do I understand the requirements of the class? How will it be taught? Have I sought out and received advice about how I can best prepare for this class? Do I know my strengths and weaknesses as a student and thinker? One good question is worth a thousand answers.

    No, rather than asking myself am I student-centered? The student should ask more questions, be less of a passive learner, and ask himself or herself am I learning centered? The following is a quotation from one student who responded to my question: are you a passive or active learner?

    “The way we are taught by our instructors in school is passive. It is up to ourselves to be the active learner. We can chose to come to class and sit there while the teacher lectures, and we can just daydream the entire time. Or we can take the initiative to have our minds opened to the knowledge that is available. We can take notes, ask more questions, and be involved in the class discussions.”

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