Explore Strategies - Enhancing Education - Carnegie Mellon University

Step 3: Explore Strategies

Explore potential strategies.

My students don’t seek help when they need it.

Students’ personalities may inhibit them from seeking help.

There are a variety of reasons why students may not approach you when they are performing poorly, which have nothing to do with you. In other words, students who are shy or introverted, self-conscious, embarrassed by their performance, fearful of looking stupid, etc., may not seek help from you or others on campus.

Strategies

Arrive early and chat with students.

Attempt to learn students’ names.

Invite students to interact with you outside of class
(e.g., office hours, lunch/coffee).

Acknowledge your demeanor and personality.

Remind students of the multiple resources available for help. 

Arrive early and chat with students.

This is an opportunity for you to get to know more about your students; for example, some faculty members ask questions that range from "how was your weekend" or "have you seen any interesting movies lately" to "how difficult was the last homework assignment" or "how long did the last lab take you to complete." These quick and simple gestures will help students to build a sense of connection to you.

Attempt to learn students’ names.

While some people are much better at remembering names, students appreciate the attempt despite whether you are successful or not. Ask students their names when they pose a question or answer one of yours, and use the name in responding to them. Download a copy of the photo roster from ACIS and bring it to class with you. Note that you can obtain a photo roster until the last day to add a course.

Invite students to interact with you outside of class (e.g., office hours, lunch/coffee).

The formal nature of many classrooms can hinder students’ views of professors as people. An invitation for one-on-one or small group interaction with students can break down the barrier. Some faculty members teaching large classes prompt students, in groups of three or four, to invite them for coffee or lunch as a way to connect with students. Other faculty members, in smaller classes, require students to meet individually with them during the first two weeks of class.

Acknowledge your demeanor and personality.

Tell students, for example, that you are shy or introverted, that you simply don’t smile frequently, that you often don’t recognizes faces outside the classroom or that you have difficulty memorizing names, and ask them to approach you anyway. This simple gesture allows students to reformulate their view of you and potentially seek you out when necessary. In cases of extreme shyness, well-known faculty members have admitted to taking on another “persona” (as we do everyday in a variety of different settings) as a way to address their shyness.

Remind students of the multiple resources available for help.

Some students may be more comfortable talking with TAs, peers, Academic Development tutors, etc., although they don’t necessarily know who can provide the kind of help they need. Hence some faculty members indicate on their syllabi the various kinds of help that each of these individuals can provide.

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learning principles

  1. Students’ prior knowledge can help or hinder learning. MORE>
  2. How students organize knowledge influences how they learn and apply what they know. MORE>
  3. Students’ motivation determines, directs, and sustains what they do to learn. MORE>
  4. To develop mastery, students must acquire component skills, practice integrating them, and know when to apply what they have learned. MORE>
  5. Goal-directed practice coupled with targeted feedback enhances the quality of students’ learning. MORE>
  6. Students’ current level of development interacts with the social, emotional, and intellectual climate of the course to impact learning. MORE>
  7. To become self-directed learners, students must learn to monitor and adjust their approaches to learning. MORE>