Thursday, September 7, 2017

Impacting Students for a Lifetime - Part 4

Continued blog post series by Sally Heilstedt, Associate Dean of Instruction - Engagement and Learning at LWIT

Schedule One-On-One Meetings

At the beginning of the quarter and throughout, schedule one-on-one meetings with students.

Many students will never use your office hours or the extra time you provide before and after class for questions. In all their schooling up until this point, the only time they went to an office, came early, or stayed late was most likely when they were in trouble. Others are intimidated or think you will judge them for struggling. While none of these concerns may be true, they are real for many students who struggle with impostor syndrome*. Building in one-on-one meetings as a requirement breaks down stigma and fear. It also makes it easier for you to find out how each student is doing individually.

Possible Practices:

  • Q&A Form: For each meeting (e.g., beginning, mid, and end of quarter), provide students in advance with the list of questions you will ask during the meeting. Provide space for them to jot down notes. Also, ask them to write down at least one question they want to ask you. Have them bring the form to their meeting and follow it as needed.
  • Project Process: Build in a meeting as part of a project. This could be a planning meeting to help students get started if they have never done a project like this before. It could be a status report midway or a final review of a draft.
  • Scheduling Meetings: Sign-up forms can be printed and posted in your classroom. You can also create a Canvas page that is editable by students and you. List the time slots available and have students add their name next to the time that works best for them.

Lessons Learned:

You can spend all of your out of class time and then some meeting with students. Using the practices above can help set healthy boundaries for meeting focus and time frame. One-on-one meetings do not need to be more than 15 minutes. Are you a professional-technical faculty member with a lot of lab time and less out of class time? Build one-on-one meetings into your daily lab rotations.

*Impostor syndrome is the feeling/belief that you do not belong and someone or everyone is going to find out. Students with impostor syndrome see any action that can be perceived as failure as validation that they aren’t cut out for college. They often isolate themselves, thus reinforcing the sense that they don’t belong. Impostor syndrome is common. You might have it as an instructor. I do. Required one-on-one meetings are one of the best practices I have found to mitigate impostor syndrome (that, and talking about it openly on the first day of class).

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