We all know and and can feel when someone is personally interested in us; genuinely interested. How can we show personal interest in our students?
1. Learn their names- I’m terrible with names but students feel important when we use their name. They feel like they have a connection with you. The more you use their names, the more likely they will grow to feel very much that you have an interest in them; after all you call them by name!
2. Be available to students in ways that you judge are not too invasive of your personal boundaries. Arrive early to class and stay a little later and encourage students to seek you out at these times. It goes without saying that being available is not just when you are in class; it includes while your out of class too! When your teaching Online why not connect a little earlier, letting the students know you want to engage them. You can ask them how their weekend went, their friends, what they enjoy doing, etc.In this way, you make yourself a friend to your students and show personal interest.. It makes a massive difference to the classroom atmosphere.
3. Solicit and respond to student feedback. Make it tailor-made for them. Be sure to write the good stuff they have done, not just the errors they need to improve in. Positivity and commendation, when genuine, can motivate students to want to do more and better.
4. Connect classroom material to students’ experience. If what they learn in class can be used once they leave it, then the lesson becomes a truly practical learning experience. Why study subjects that the student just doesn't need, want or even like? Would you order a burger and fries if you hated the very sight of meat? Get it?
5. Create opportunities for students to engage actively in the classroom. It creates a more personal classroom environment and increases learning. Group work, interviews, students working in pairs all add up to actvely engaging your students. They need to use what they learn!
We all value being shown personal interest. Let’s give our students that too!