If students are supposed to represent the future leaders of tomorrow, they must be more actively engaged in their class discussions and lectures while attending college.
Students become accustomed to a typical format of lecture, notes, and tests while in high school, and this format is no longer feasible for encouraging college students to learn and retain as much information as possible during their tenure.
This format, which has been a main-stay of American education since time immemorial, is not engaging enough for college students, who have worked tirelessly for four years to graduate beyond this tired and ineffective method of teaching.
Students nowadays must have their minds stimulated to maintain their focus in the classroom. A good way to achieve this would be for professors to give their students a variety of experiences throughout the class aside from the lecture itself.
Jane Greco, a chemistry instructor at John Hopkins University, records her lectures and posts them online as homework. During class, Greco has discussions with her students about lab experiments they’ve completed.
What some educators aren’t realizing is that the lecture model has become a nuisance to a majority of students.
“Just because teachers say something at the front of the room doesn’t mean that students learn,” said Diane Bunce, a chemistry professor at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.
Even at American River College we have a select few classes that aim to keep their students engaged.
Alan Miller, a professor at ARC who teaches Journalism 320: Race and Gender in the Media, prefers to actively engage his students in the lecture rather than following a typical, mundane cycle.
“This class is very lively and the length of the assignments are as long as you want them to be, as long as you have strong information. Mr. Miller is a great teacher as well … he keeps the lectures interesting and gets his point across,” said journalism major Faisal Manzoor.
According to Manzoor, Miller is able to engage his students in the course material beyond a typical format of pre-arranged lecture notes. Assignments typically include dissection of content from late-night talk show and news hosts and a discussion analyzing how these hosts portray their views.
That discussion ends up becoming an interactive part of the class itself. Students in Miller’s class are not confined to simply writing down notes constructed in Powerpoint for quizzes to follow.
The outside analyzation of sources and information serves to increase discussion and critical thinking about the topics covered in class.
Although it may be challenging to do, teachers must find what interests their students as well as finding activities that will keep them functioning in a classroom environment. It’s the only way for students to stay engaged and actually take in the information.
Homework is still important to the overall success of students, and it should remain centered on re-affirming what the student is learning during class lectures.
The purpose of homework is to reveal and display the skills students have picked up in the classroom, but must feature assignments that will force even the most unbudging of students to put in the foot work and either sink or swim.
The main goal of a college is to actually teach students information that they will retain once they get out in the real world, and getting students out of their comfort zone with interactive assignments is an effective way to make sure that happens.