PREFACE: Though, I don’t think I’m necessarily some outstanding “guru” on how to guarantee success for students in a classroom, I do think the fact that I am a retired school teacher who has thought and taught a great deal regarding this subject, gives some validity to my “expertise.” Wow, what a long sentence! :-)
Recently, I designed a website for the purpose of introducing some of my ideas to the general public, and also offering my services to anyone interested in math tutoring or enrichment. The name of the site is R2MATH4U. If you would like to visit the site, please click here, or on the name given in the previous sentence. When you go to the site, you will notice one of the pages is entitled, “12 Ideas For Classroom Success.” On that page you will find a dozen ideas for success in any academic classroom. Some of you know that I taught Mathematics for over 30 years to students in grade levels from middle school to college. I have also taught student teachers and teachers how to teach and improve their students’ critical thinking. I write this to add some credence to my suggestions on how to be successful in any class.
Here are the first six of the twelve ideas I put on my R2MATH4U site. Also, if you go to the site, you will be able to download a copy in PDF format. I hope this provides some insight for success in any of your academic endeavors.
Half Of The Dozen Ideas For Classroom Success
1) Make sure you thoroughly understand the requirements of the course, how it will be taught, and what will be expected of you. After reading the syllabus, etc. and actively listening to the explanations your instructor gives regarding the course of study, ask questions about the grading policy and for advice on how best to prepare for the class.
2) Become an active learner. Be prepared to work ideas into your thinking by ACTIVE reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
3) As you study the subject taught in your course, think of it as a form of thinking. (In a mathematics class, one of your main goals should be to think mathematically.)
4) Become a questioner. Engage yourself in lectures, discussions, reading, listening, and all other mental activities of the class by asking questions. Questions reflect an active mind. Your questions do not need to be asked orally and do not need to be answered by anyone other than you. If you don’t ask questions, you will probably not discover what you do and do not know.
5) Look for interconnections. The content of any class is always a SYSTEM of interconnected ideas, never a random list of things to memorize. Don’t memorize like a parrot. Study like a detective, always relating new learning to previous learning.
6) Think of your instructor as your coach. Think of yourself as a team member trying to practice the thinking exemplified by your instructor. For example, in a mathematics class, think of yourself as going out for the math team and your teacher as demonstrating how to prepare for the games (tests, assignments and other “math performances”).