Bang ON Students
"Talk, ask and listen. You'll be surprised at what you learn!"- Bang 2012
"Ask and they shall engage"- Bang 2009
"Most students don't understand the importance of attending graduation
until the ceremony is over. Encourage them to participate
and be there to cheer for them!"- Bang 2011
"They won't believe you read their paper unless you write a comment on it, always start with a positive one"- Bang 2012
"To help students experience real life assignments should
be based on real experiences"- Bang 2010
"I'm gonna learn you something today if it kills me!"- Bang 2009
"Humor is the chocolate syrup of lecturing"- Bang 2011
"To be a winning professor you need to be a winning coach"- Bang 2011
"They didn't do the reading, they don't remember the reading and they
don't understand the reading are the only assumptions you should ever make about students"- Bang 2012
"Nothing beats a field trip for hands on learning"- Bang 2010
"Show and tell should be heavy on showing and light on telling"- Bang 2011
"If it can't be applied it doesn't need to be taught"- Bang 2010
"They hate role plays as much as you hate watching them,
simulations are way more fun"- Bang 2012
"When it comes to academic misconduct a ton of prevention
beats an ounce of enforcement"- Bang 2012
"You and your subject are not the most important things in your student's lives"- Bang 2011
"If you want students to participate load up on carrots and put the stick away"- Bang 2011
I consider myself very fortunate to teach subjects that attract students from all parts of the world and many of my classes will have over 60 international students in attendance. Most of my students range in age from 18 to 30 although, on occasion, I have older students in the class. With such a diverse group our discussions are very rich and rewarding during which the students tell me how things work in their country and I try to relate how similar situations would be handled in Canada. As you can imagine the classroom becomes a fertile learning platform for both my students and myself as seldom is the day I come away from a session without gaining additional knowledge or ideas.
One thing I have learned is that, regardless of their country of origin, most young people operate in a similar fashion when it comes to their attitudes and behaviors as they relate to education. In general, today's students practice a "just-in-time" operating model. For the most part assignments are completed close to the deadline, often printed and handed in with minutes to spare. Group dynamics are also different with fewer people willing to take on a leadership role forcing the group to complete projects using more of an osmosis management style. I also find that there are fewer students striving for top marks and more students weighing the return on investment for additional work in an attempt to decide how well they would like to perform in a given subject and how much time it will require to meet their goal.
This is not to say, by any means, that today's students are better or worse than those of the past, just different in the way they look at education. My job, as I see it, is to recognize the differences and structure my courses to accommodate the new reality. One of the first changes I made was to adjust when I handed out assignments. I always post all assignments and slides on Blackboard at the beginning of the term however I don't bring the assignment to the student's attention until 2 weeks prior to the due date which gives the students more than enough time to build it into their schedule. For more complex group assignments I book an initial meeting with each group to see how they are making out and then at least one interim meeting before the due day to make sure they are working on the project and not leaving significant portions of research to the last minute.
At one time I took it personally when a student scored below average on a test or did not hand in an assignment however I have learned to accept the new form of self management used by students. Sometimes I even ask students what marks they are striving to achieve and I am no longer surprised when they say "I only need a 60 to pass sir" although I must say that I am amazed by some of my student's ability to cut it so close to the passing line. If I had that ability when I was in school life would have been a whole lot easier and more enjoyable. Perhaps today's students are brighter after all!