Posts by Janet Dausey

Everyone has Worth

It is graduation 2016, and we reflect on the significance of this culminating event.  This year, I am reminded of the gifts of knowing, learning, and becoming.  I am reminded of our College values.  Following is something I sent to recent program graduates:

Dear 2016 graduates,

We have spent tremendous time in one another’s company over the past number of years, in courses ranging from Accounting 1 to Payroll, Tax, and Managerial Accounting, and covering topics from basic debits and credits to complex statistical regression analysis.  You have mastered the technical and employability skills so necessary for your success in this field.  Yet, my wishes for you extend far beyond the campus and employment settings.

Do you recall when we discussed the difference between cost and price?  But how about worth?  This is not another accounting lesson, but a parallel to your lives and futures.  It is about one of our most important NWTC values:  Everyone has worth.  Know that each of you is inherently valuable and uniquely significant:  Linda’s good nature, Martha’s tenacity, Becky’s positive, quiet leadership, Sergio’s witty antics, Tanya’s no-nonsense style, Tracy’s gentle spirit, Patrick’s offbeat quirkiness, Nancy’s patience and care, and Jen’s beautiful smile and kind heart.

Transcending academics, maybe the most important knowing is knowing who you are; knowing your identity.  And maybe the most important learning is learning to honor your own merit in the choices you make and people with whom you surround yourselves.  And maybe your most important job is to discover your own humanity; your ability to love and be loved, in respecting others’ humanity.

I hope you value yourselves enough to intuitively protect your humanity and guard your consciousness.  I hope you respect yourselves enough to allow close to you only those who genuinely regard your self-worth and emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.  And, I hope you are able to embrace the divine worth of yourselves and others in all that you do.

I know I have had the complete privilege of teaching your classes, but I have also learned so much from you.  Thank you for lifting me up this past year and for making my job so very rewarding.

Take good care, and look after yourselves . . . you’re worth it!

Breaking the Ice – Warm up Student Engagement from the Start

You’ve developed your syllabus, printed your class roster, and set up Blackboard for your course this semester.  You feel ready to roll.  But have you thought about the benefits of an icebreaker activity on the first day of class?

Think about the fact that a group of strangers, with the capacity to affect one another’s wellbeing, will be spending a great deal of time together in the course, and likely the program, over the coming weeks and months.  Icebreaker activities are get-to-know-you activities that offer an opportunity for students to positively engage with one another right from the start of the course.

Many positives from an initial icebreaker activity will benefit students and the instructor for the duration of the semester:

  • Comfort – Icebreaker activities enable students to let down their guard, move past any initial apprehension, and arrive at a comfortable state for learning.
  • Rapport – Students will feel that their instructor cares enough to get to know them; that they are more than a Student ID number in a classroom seat.
  • Camaraderie – Students interact positively with their classmates, and this connection with classmates will serve them well in the form of future study groups, projects, and activities throughout the semester.

Google icebreaker activities for college students, and you will find many options that are easy to implement at the start of your next course.  Doing the right things first and the first things right with a relationship-fostering icebreaker activity will set the stage for positive student engagement throughout the semester and likely even the program.

Beyond Memorization – Supporting First-Year Student Success

Do your first-year students struggle to move beyond memorization and thinking to learning and applying?  You can support your first-year students with methods and practices that will improve their abilities to problem solve, analyze, and draw conclusions.

Your practices within and outside the classroom are critical for enabling your first-year students to successfully transition into higher learning.  As you prepare to teach your next first-year course, consider these ideas:

  • Active Classroom Learning – First-year students need plenty of hands-on practice applying concepts.  Keep lecture time short, and intersperse activities that give students the opportunity to make use of higher level reasoning and problem solving.
  • In-Class Reviews – Because first-year students may lack study skills, it is beneficial to help them develop these skills for test preparation.  A thoughtfully created review that encourages problem solving and analytical skills can be completed in class to ensure students are effectively working through the study process.
  • Classroom Office Hours – Students may be hesitant to make use of instructor office hours, especially those in first-year courses.  Make it easy for them to access you outside of class time by moving your office hours to a classroom setting.  In addition to breaking down barriers for approachability, this also allows you to serve groups of students more easily.
  • Service Learning – Service learning offers the opportunity for students to simultaneously serve the community, gain career skills, and earn course credit.  Accounting students taking the Computerized Tax class participate in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) service learning project, in which they provide basic tax preparation services to low- and moderate-income households.  This is a great way for students to gain real-world experience, apply concepts, and meet a community need.

These ideas will help you transform your first-year students’ habits and thinking into skills that promote higher learning.

 

Amp up Employability Skills with Service Learning

Marinette VITA Volunteers

VITA Service Learning Project Volunteers – Marinette Campus

Would your students benefit from further developing their non-technical skills so critical for successful employment? Consider the role service learning could play in fostering these important virtues! Continue reading