This week’s wrap-up includes education-inspired articles to help the superstudent or the superteacher succeed.
USA Today featured “6 things you should say to your professor” in its online “College” section. I love author Ellen Bremen’s tips because I am a teacher frequently on the receiving end of a lot of unprofessional emails, voicemail messages, phone calls, and instant messages. I also like that Bremen compares the relationship between student and professor to student and boss. Ultimately, her advice is that students should “use these [suggested] phrases to sound proactive, rather than reactive” (Source).
For example, last month, a student called me and explained that he needed an A+ in my class in order to graduate. To him, this may have seemed like a perfectly reasonable request, but to me, this immediately raised red flags. How should a student go about communicating a need like this? Bremen suggests, “Instead of saying, ‘I really needed a 4.0 in this class!’ say, ‘I am striving for a 4.0 and I’m prepared to work for it. I’ve reviewed the syllabus. I would like to make an appointment so I can ask questions and discuss my plan for achieving my goal.’” (Source). This advice (along with 5 other common trouble spots) comes from Bremen’s 14 years of teaching experience, and her communication tips are sure to help any student understand the importance of professionalism, hard work, and personal responsibility… three things a teacher values.
Professors and graduate students know and treasure the Chronicle of Higher Education. If you haven’t already, it’s high time to get a free account here. My second article of the week comes from the Chronicle and is written by Richard D. Kahlenberg, “a senior fellow at the Century Foundation [and] author of, among other works, The Remedy: Class, Race, and Affirmative Action (Basic Books, 1996), and editor of Rewarding Strivers: Helping Low-Income Students Succeed in College (Century Foundation Press, 2010)” (Source). Though the article is quite long, “How Much Do You Pay For College?” is an insightful look at a taboo topic.
Lastly, for my online educators, I read the condensed findings of a study in “Some Groups May Not Benefit From Online Education.” Essentially, after examining over 40,000 community college and technical college students, researchers Di Xu and Shanna Smith Jaggars found that “[s]tudents of all types completed fewer courses and achieved lower grades online than they did in face-to-face classes” and that “men, African-Americans, and academically underprepared students had the biggest gaps between the two mediums” (Source). Read the full study here.
What interesting education-related articles did you read this week?