Getting to Know Your Students

The beginning of the semester often sees teachers using different strategies to try and find information about the students in their class. For some it may be an informal class discussion or activity, for others the form may be more concrete.

In speaking with faculty member Phil Jones in Kingston, I learned about the method he and other faculty in the Community and Justice Service programs use to engage their students: an introduction-type email assignment. The benefits of this straightforward and easy to complete assignment are many. Asking the students to email the professor ensures that they are using the appropriate technology required to communicate with faculty members at the college. The assignment also allows the faculty member to have the student’s email and possibly start a correspondence with them, if needed. And lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the responses the students provide might be more detailed and personal than the responses they may provide in an in-class discussion.

The following are some of the questions the students are encouraged to answer in their email response:

    1. Your first and last name
    2. A phone number or numbers where I can reach you
    3. Home town
    4. Work and volunteer experience
    5. Your career goal at this point in time
    6. Your most dreaded thing
    7. One thing you want me to know about you. What makes you unique?

In addition, the email also helps the professor determine if the student has any concerns about about the course, such as test anxiety.




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