Faculty, engage students with fresh learning methods

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Students distracted in class — bored, day-dreaming, some falling asleep, some on their phones — actions surely all too familiar to many, concepts that may already have faculty groaning and students smiling as they read this because, yes, it happens often.

And then you have instructors like history Instructor Suraya Khan, who teaches historical events to students by having them act out mock scenarios during her HIST 1302, U.S. History 2, course.

However, instead of acting out a script, which would be a fresh teaching method as is, students are further involved by being presented with choices and different perspectives as to how to proceed when managing a historical situation.

In doing so, they understand the situation from differing angles, and it better ensures the lesson is ingrained into their memories because of active involvement and practice.

These are the type of learning methods that ought to be seen in the classroom more often. Engage students so that they may better retain the material they are being shown and have fun with it at the same time.

Art instructors have students visit museums like the McNay Art Museum and San Antonio Museum of Art often to understand art concepts and artist styles more closely. Students have free general admission to these museums with an Alamo Colleges ID.

Math, accounting and economics instructors can apply real-life math situations, such as managing personal budgets and taxes.

English instructors should let students write essays about their favorite books, movies or video games.

Instead of having students read a 30-page chapter weekly, government instructors could have students practice the functions of government bodies in mock sessions during class.

Technology instructors might assign students to help and coordinate multimedia events around campus similar to the students in music business Coordinator Donnie Meals’s classes work on the music festival Fredstock in spring for a grade.

Sociology instructors could have open discussions about topical information covered in class that relates to outside environments the students reside in.

Throughout the disciplines, instructors should encourage or assign part of the course where students can shadow a professional applying relevant knowledge into a labor environment. Have students become familiar with what and where they can apply learned knowledge outside the classroom.

Let these teaching methods become more of a rule than the exception. Instead of treating students as passive participants in the classroom, allow them to immerse themselves in the subject. Let them actively apply themselves to make way for better learning, involvement and retention.


1 Comment

  1. Joshua schwennesen on


    This letter is in regards to the editorial, “Faculty, engage students with fresh learning methods” published on October 22.
    While innovation within education is generally a good thing, professors must be careful to set realistic expectations of what students will expect within the workforce.
    The primary purpose of higher education is to prepare students for their careers.
    In an attempt to make learning fun and engaging, professors may inadvertently create an unrealistic idea of what a student’s career will be like.
    By allowing English students to choose which book they would like to write about, it instills the idea that they can choose their workload at work as well.
    More often than not, this is far from reality.
    Individuals in entry-level positions are often required to complete very mundane, rigid tasks.
    Students need to be prepared for and somewhat expecting this, as it’s a necessary step within career development.
    If this is not done, they often become discouraged and feel as if the career path they chose was not the right one for them.
    This discouragement can lead to discontent and a drop in moral which can prevent eventual career development.
    While innovation in education can be great, it must not come at the expense of a realistically prepared student.

    Josh Schwen

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