Teaching Fashion: Resolve To Make Class Periods More Productive

Happy New Year to all Worn Through readers! I’ve found my teaching resolutions in a most unexpected place.   I happened upon a post entitled 25 Ways To Make Meetings More Productive. This post was for entrepreneurs trying to improve their small businesses, but some tips have applicability to the professor in a college classroom. While you have likely heard most of these ideas before, they are great reminders.  Perhaps you can find inspiration for a New Year’s teaching resolution or two.

Here are my resolutions (adapted from the original post):

  1. Set an objective and agenda for every class period and circulate the finished agenda in advance of the class period to all who will attend.  This sounds a lot like a syllabus, doesn’t it?  I’m thinking of handing out an agenda for each class period, too.
  2. Start and end the class period on time to show respect for each person’s time.
  3. Make the “highest and best use” of all attendee’s time during the class period. No one wants to attend a class they feel is a waste of his or her time.
  4. Focus on the immediate subject at hand. Limit discussion not on the agenda.
  5. Don’t get involved in discussions which only concern one or two students; otherwise I am wasting the time of those to whom it does not apply. This may be the student that arrives 30 minutes late and wants to know right then whether a speeding ticket is an excused absence or not. I will kindly say, “I would love to talk with you about that during my office hours. We are currently discussing the ways to hem a satin evening gown.” This will show I am interested in their issue, without derailing the class period.
  6. Don’t let one student dominate the class period. In any discussion, there are those students that have so much to say that the others never get a chance to contribute. I will help them share the spotlight by asking more quiet students for their contributions.
  7. Hold students accountable. Require that students come prepared to discuss their contribution area(s). They can’t come in and make it up as they go along. For example, students should have completed the required reading and be prepared to discuss it.
  8. Require professionalism. There is no whining allowed during class periods.
  9. Cut off negativity – it will fester. Never let a class period become a gripe session.

I hope that by modeling good meeting behavior in the classroom, my students will become good meeting attendees in their future jobs.  I hope it will contribute to greater enthusiasm for attending class among students and increased learning during the class period.

What are your resolutions for more productive class periods in 2011?

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1 Comment

  • Monica Sklar January 23, 2011 11.48 pm

    these are all really good tips!


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