Communication is a major component in education. It is what sustains the relationship between a teacher and a student. Moreover, effective communication in the context of learning is comprised of patience, fairness, and the willingness to listen. Both the teacher and the student must adhere to these traits to allow for a fulfilling classroom experience.
Though communication is free and accessible in an academic setting, most students tend to shy away from having to talk to their teachers. Even if they have concerns pertaining to their learning progress, many students opt to leave their issues unresolved as they do not know how to approach their instructors. The only time students ever seem to communicate to their instructors is through a periodic Evaluation Form.
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How to Talk to Your Instructors
Many students share the same reasons (and assumptions) for avoiding substantial out-of-the-classroom interaction with their instructors. A common and blunt reason is that the student simply does not like their teacher; or for some students, it is the other way around. Another reason is the fear of being judged by their teacher, or by their peers for the very act of talking to their teacher. Whatever the factor may be that prevents a student from communicating with their teacher, it must be emphasized that such apprehension will not reap any benefit whatsoever.
If you have concerns about your learning progress that you believe have to be addressed with the help of your teacher, approaching your teacher will prove to be the best (and only rational) move you can make. However, if the thought of initiating a conversation with your teacher outside the classroom has always intimidated you, knowing how to talk to them beforehand may do you good.
You need not wait for the middle or the end of the term to distribute the Course Evaluation Forms be able to convey your concerns to your instructor. It can simply be a matter of having the initiative to approach them and know what to say.
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- Set an appointment. It is a given that teachers have very hectic schedules. You would not want to disrupt your teacher’s plans for a particular day by asking to see them without prior notification. Contact them beforehand and let them know when they would be available to see you.
- Write down your concerns and plan the discussion you want to have with your instructor. Prepare your concerns and the questions you want to ask your teacher. Doing this will allow for the discussion with your teacher to go smoothly.
- Be honest. Teachers, like everyone else, hate being told lies. Apart from lies, they find excuses simply unacceptable. So unless you really were caught in an emergency that prevented you from completing a class project, or led to lapses in your class attendance, telling your teacher the truth will prove to always be the best direction.
- Propose solutions. Now just because your teacher obliges you does not mean they will solve your problems for you. You hold the responsibility of coming up with solutions as your teacher is merely there to guide you.
Communication and exchange of feedback between you and your instructor is not limited to answering Teacher Evaluation Forms; sometimes, to be able to improve as a student, you have to be the one who makes the first move.
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