This past week the Ambassadors held sessions in the Exchange designed to help familiarize new students with life in the college, teach them how to connect with faculty and staff and give them tips on how to thrive in the classroom. We call it “street smarts” and the basic idea is to teach students how to communicate with us by effectively communicating with them in language they understand… the language of fellow students.
This generational challenge extends to the classroom too where we regularly start out communicating with students in language they understand in the hopes of getting them proficient in the languages we understand… The languages of academia and business. Effectuating this type of transformation requires professors to use examples that are relevant to their student audience… Things that connect with students’ experiences and they can relate to so they understand the faculty’s perspective. Conversely, nothing kills learning like a dated example. It makes the professor seem out of date and out of touch. Yawns follow. Listening stops.
I rediscovered an old resource this week that helped me make sure I was relevant in the classroom. It’s called the Beloit College Mindset List and you can access it by clicking here. It reminds us of the things we think are current events or trends that Freshmen students never experienced or see as old hat. The list is insight into student mindsets. Items 3 and 10 on this year’s list make me feel sad for them. Item 49 makes me feel really old. The list comes out every year and takes five minutes to read, but like a month to process (lol). Well worth the time. Think of it as street smarts for faculty.