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Planning for Teaching

  • After you write your syllabus, run it by one (or several) of your colleagues to get their input. They may be able to pick up subtle things that you may not have been aware of, like your tone. There's a fine line between wanting to welcome your students to the course and being firm about your expectations and course policies.
  • When selecting a textbook for the course, choose one that's at your students' level. If appropriate, choose one that has an accompanying study guide. Explain the importance of reading the textbook and how the textbook and your lectures are going to be connected. And be sure to refer to the textbook from time to time in your lectures.
  • Prior to testing your students, make sure they've had a chance -- either inside or outside of the class -- to practice the objective. Also, make sure that they've received feedback from you about their level of competence so that they can make the change in their knowledge level or skill level prior to the assessment.
  • Use a variety of assessment tools throughout the semester to determine your students' knowledge and skill levels. Students have different learning styles which means they do better on different kinds of tests.
  • Test frequently. Your weaker students will especially benefit from frequent testing because it makes them keep up with the work.
  • Use your end-of semester course-instructor evaluations to make changes in future classes. Most evaluation instruments have a section where students can write feedback about the course -- what they liked and what they didn't like. One comment from a student doesn't warrant making a significant change, but several comments along the same line might be worth considering.