Strategies to promote student development and productive course climate
In the previous part, we discussed six strategies to promote student development and a productive course climate. Today we are going to discuss the next five strategies.
Be aware of low-ability cues
In their efforts to help students, sometimes teachers may send mixed messages based on assumptions which can harm their learning. For example, when a student is struggling with a mathematics problem, saying, “I am happy to help you with this problem because I know girls have trouble with this subject,” may not help the cause. These low-ability cues will diminish students’ self-efficacy. Instead, if you say, “I am happy to help you; the more you practise, the more you learn” will create a positive impact. Here, the problem is attributed to a controllable cause like effort rather than attributing it to a permanent, uncontrollable cause like gender.
Use multiple and diverse examples
Theories and concepts can operate in a variety of contexts and conditions. To make students understand this, using multiple examples is very important. It will also increase the likelihood of students relating to at least some of them. For example, using multiple and diverse examples that speak across sexes and cultures and relate to people from various strata of society will help students feel connected to the content. It will also make students feel that they belong to the course, and, it will, in turn, create a sense of purpose in them.
Establish ground rules for interaction
To create an effective learning climate, students should interact with each other in an inclusive and respectful way. It is important to establish some ground rules to ensure that these interactions do not cross boundaries. Involving students in the process of establishing ground rules will help maximise the result.
Ensure course content does not marginalise students
Course content should be inclusive. Certain perspectives getting unrepresented can worsen the course climate. For example, a course on public policy that ignores race issues can alienate a certain group of students. They may feel that they do not belong to this course.
Establish course content through the syllabus and the first day of class
The first impression is very important as it can be long-lasting. Students will form an impression of the course and the teacher on the first day itself. So it is important to set the tone for what is coming ahead. It is the best time to introduce yourself and the course. You have to think and develop ways to establish your competence and authority by coming across as supportive and approachable.
Today we discussed five strategies to promote student development and a productive climate. We can discuss the next five strategies in the next part.