Nov 02 2011
Communicate High Expectations
“Every truth has four corners: as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three.” ~ Confucius
A good course is designed with two layers of expectations. First are the expectations of the program, course, or assignment. Letting students know exactly what you expect gives them a roadmap for the program, course, or assignment, and helps them to succeed. This can be accomplished through the syllabus, through assignment guidelines and rubrics, and with oral or written feedback. My best advice for helping students to succeed in your course is to give them clear guidelines as to what constitutes good performance, preferably at the same time that you make the assignment. This can be done with a rubric or by sharing exemplars of excellent, good, and sub-standard work.
The second layer is that of motivating the students to do their best work. With guidance, encouragement, and constructive feedback, we can help our students to realize their potential and, potentially, limitless possibilities. Go beyond just providing additional resources or suggestions for further study, and challenge your students to stretch themselves.
To follow up on any of these ideas, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This Weekly Teaching Note was adapted from a contribution to the Teaching and Learning Writing Consortium sponsored by Western Kentucky University.
Assistant Dean of Faculty, School of Legal Studies
Kaplan University/Kaplan Legal Education