Do We Ever Ask Students What They Expect of Us?
by Emily Magruder, Ph.D
What many professors do on the first day of class is to present the syllabus and walk through it step by step. The thinking is that we have to go over all of the course requirements and policies so that students understand exactly what is expected of them.
Is this really the best way to begin our relationship with students?
If we profess a desire to engage students actively in their learning, aren’t we failing to practice what we preach? Going over the syllabus models the passive absorption of information. And for many students, it’s probably very boring. Have we forgotten that our students can read? If we establish on the first day that we will go over things in class, what incentive do our students have to read things that they can understand on their own outside of class?