The midsemester course correction

Sometimes I think the most important quality any teacher can have is flexibility — the capacity to adjust quickly to whatever is happening in the classroom. The more flexible you can be about course design and approach, the more authority your students can take in shaping those aspects, and the more likely they will take responsibility for their own learning.

To put it another way: All the preparation in the world won’t help if you turn up for class on the first day and discover your students aren’t nearly as skilled as you thought they would be. What’s required then is the ability and willingness to change your lesson plans to suit the students you have in the room, rather than the students you wish you had.

As the semester goes on, faculty members must continually adjust to all the ways that teaching in a real classroom manages to diverge from our plans — when an activity takes much longer than expected, when students don’t understand a concept we find straightforward, or when half the class is sailing through while the other half is struggling to keep up.

[ Read the original article at The Chronicle for Higher Education. ]

The University Center for Teaching and Learning Teaching Support unit can help you find innovative ways to modify your class to reach your teaching and learning goals.