After reading Karen’s post yesterday about providing real-world connections, I started to think, “What in the heck do my students get out of my class? What part of these ‘pearls of wisdom’ can they actually use (assuming they have grasped any to begin with)? Can they use any of it?”
Of course, we teachers pride ourselves in providing the most up-to-date, interesting and, in some cases, life-changing information and anecdotes our students will ever come across. Everything they ever wanted to know or ask about the subject, they will find out – from us. Hmm… how do we know that for sure?
Why not ask them? When you want to know something, don’t you usually just ask? Well, why is this situation any different?
At the end of most classes, I ask students to write down something they learned that day. Then I ask them to think about how they see themselves using it. Has it contributed to their life in any way? Remember the old adage “Be careful of what you ask for, because you just might get it!” I have been shocked, pleased and have even sometimes patted myself on the back after reading the things students list as being helpful or valuable (pleasureinlearning high point).
Today after class one student approached me and reflected on what she had written. She mentioned that several years ago she had taken a psychology class similar to this one (Human Development).
Our topic today was parenting, including different parenting styles. When taking her previous class, she had not yet become a parent. Now she has a small child, and her life is much different. You parents know how painfully true this is. With a smile on her face, she expressed that she was glad to know she was a good parent. This made today’s lecture worth every bit of class time spent. When she took the class before, she had no idea of what it meant to be a parent and, quite frankly, didn’t think that she should take the time commit the information to memory.
Today, she felt her parenting skills had just been validated. She couldn’t thank me enough. You know, that’s a good feeling.
Thanks, I needed that!