Thursday, July 16, 2015

Spoiler Alert...Students are Human Beings

Pic from: http://modthesims.info/d/47534
Well, it has certainly been awhile since my last blog post...never mind the cobwebs and dust, it's been too long. Heading into a new semester it is time to brush off, and get it going again.

As I revive the blog (my way of interacting with you), I challenge you to improve your social proximity with students. How do you communicate & interact with students outside of the classroom? Answering that honestly and challenging yourself to effectively improve your social proximity may benefit you in the classroom more than you can even realize.

Relationships & interactions with students, I believe (as well as many others), is the #1 motivator in student learning. Yes, all students are different, but to a degree all human beings seek approval, interaction, & positive relationships. Now get ready because I'm about to drop some serious keh-nowledge on you... 

***NOTE STUDENTS ARE HUMAN BEINGS!!!***

Crazy how sometimes that can be forgotten in a data driven culture, especially if you are teaching a lecture class with 50, 100, or 200 students. They are not research, they are not data (did you hear that admins), they are not annoyances that make your JOB difficult. They are unique individuals that give your PASSION opportunity. I mean, I assume your passion is teaching, fueling, & growing young minds...surely you didn't get into this for the money did you???

Look for ways to improve your interactions with students...sure you can go old school & talk face to face with them...but they often consider that awkward and with some you won't get very far by starting with that approach. For many students today starting interaction online is more common and then the face to face can be more meaningful/effective when they get to that point. Don't get me wrong, face to face is important...you might just unlock deeper caverns of thought, discussion, and dare I say learning, if you attempt to cultivate through social media first.

Last week I had the pleasure of hearing JoseBowen author of Teaching Naked (which I'll talk about in next week's blog) and he stressed the importance of using tech outside of the classroom to promote social proximity.

What does that look like? It can take many different paths, but choosing one and using it effectively is key. Again, my challenge to you for this upcoming semester/year is to improve your social proximity with students! Try focusing on one of these...
  • Twitter (create a class hash)
  • Virtual Office Hours...(Google+Hangout, Adobe Connect, Skype, Join.me, etc.)
  • Facebook - (creating a class page or group)
  • Instagram
  • PinInterest
Incorporating social media is important not only to cultivate social proximity with students, but also to show them that social media can be used in the academic setting for engagements, learning, and research. To understand better how & what students/are using check out the latest Pew Research on Social Media use by Teens.

If you are on campus, stop by the Center for Teaching and Learning and we will help get you set up/answer any questions you have. For my non-Lipscomb readers always feel free to email me your questions and I'm happy to help. kwoneal@lipscomb.edu