Contract and Employment Questions

If your class is like mine, the first 2-3 weeks of class are somewhat of a "honeymoon" period. The students are refreshed and excited for a new semester. They are determined to do their best on every assignment and are excited to learn!

Then about this time in the semester, the honeymoon ends and coursework that was once exciting to the students becomes just "work" as stress levels rise and students start doing bare minimum to just "get by."

This is where we as instructors come in. What can we do to help our students develop a genuine love of learning that goes beyond the honeymoon period? What about a desire to learn once they have left your class? The university? Well, we asked many of you and you responded with wonderful ideas. They are located below.

Remember, this list came from a handful of instructors and now we want anyone and everyone to share their own ideas so please contribute if you desire!

Inspire a Love for Learning

"Help students realize their divine potential and prepare them for lifelong learning"

  • Give enthusiastic personal responses to material that students excel on.

  • Show students how learned principles can be applied to their professional and personal lives.

  • Share your love of learning with students.  What is something you’ve learned recently? How are you continuing your educational path?

  • Use questions to probe students thinking and inspire deeper responses.

  • Answer questions using material from new sources.

  • Allowing students “retries” on certain assignments in order to help them master a concept rather than simply failing and moving on.

  • Positive reinforcement.

  • Encourage students to learn additional information about topics and share it with the class.

  • Rather than dismissing complaints, give specific tips and tools to helps students succeed in tough classes.

  • Share something that excites you about the material each week.

  • Work through the material along with your students.  This enables you to give fresh feedback because you’ve just gone over the same material as the students.

  • Remind students that receiving an education is a privilege and a blessing.  The Lord has a plan for them and this education will serve the Lord in that plan.

  • Recognize the educational growth of the class and applaud their hard work.

  • Give guidance on educational expectations.  Prepare your students to be prepared.  

  • Share personal educational goals.  Encourage students to make and share their own goals.

  • Praise students hard work and dedication in completing difficult tasks/assignments.

  • Remind students that they are capable and that their contributions to their own education and other’s are important.

  • Thank students for their work and participation in class.

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Replies

  • I speak for EFY and BYU Education Week and I love to create a 4-6 minute audio talk based on principles and doctrines found in that week's study.  The students seem to really enjoy the deeper/fresher look and have commented that the weekly Scripture Screencasts really help my course feel more like a 'class'.  They've mentioned how much it's strengthened their study-- but more importantly, how it's helped them to be inspired to look harder as they study, which typifies 'a love of learning' in my books.  It's been fun to share.

  • I have to share this from Harley King's FDSCI group. Sara Young has been giving her students "a specific challenge" each week in order to help them see the course ideas in real life. For Lesson 2, she asked students to "find an example of a time [they] used the scientific method in [their] life." She received some great responses. In Lesson 3, students gave her an example of a study they heard of that was only presenting one side of the data (4 out of 5 dentists recommend Crest). She encouraged her students to look for real life application in their studies, and has made excellent goals to give specific challenges to students each week that connect to real life.

  • Thank you so much for these helpful ideas, Kimball.  As this is my first semester teaching, I don't have much insight to add other than to support the idea of instructor enthusiasm.  I truly love the subject I teach, and I've always been amazed how far that enthusiasm goes to uplift and encourage my students, especially since many students despise English and dread taking writing courses.  If we're not enthusiastic about what we're doing, we certainly can't expect our students to stay engaged, so we need to find even small ways to show our students how enthusiastic we are about our subject and our love for teaching.  The effect it will greatly surpass the small effort we make to show that enthusiasm.  Thanks again for this excellent help.  I look forward to your future postings!

    • Thanks for your insights Patricia. I had wondered if that kind of excitement could be passed on in an online class but it can! It can totally be conveyed in our written communications and feedback to students. I love the use of exclamation points! :) 

  • Thanks for this great post, Kimball!  I specifically found value in the recommendation of, "Share something that excites you about the material each week."  Every week I create a "New Post" in the weekly discussion boards answering one of the questions outlined; but I had to stop and think if I show "excitement" for what I learned in the lesson material.  I love that advice.

    Thank you!

    Denise

    • Exactly Denise, when an instructor has sincere excitement and interest in the things being discussed in the course (and shares it with their students) it is contagious!  

  • Great list! Another thing that I try to do is encourage them to select projects and assignments that will challenge them. They hear some variation on this theme many times during the semester: "Remember stepping out of our comfort zone and trying a novel activity can literally grow our brains!"

    It's always gratifying when they start to adopt these ideas and repeat them back to me as one student did when she wrote this in one of her discussion boards about parenting challenges: "Our brains are always learning and growing so I know that I still have time to learn how to do this successfully." WIN! :)

    • Wahoo for the growth mindset Lindsay!

    • I agree Lindsay, having students do something because they "choose to" is much more powerful then just doing what they "have to" in growing a love for learning! 

  • I always wondered how I could improve on this area, especially when it is time to fill out the Weekly Reflection, thanks for sharing great ideas.

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