I have been given the gift of first-year students this term. By “gift” I mean that after 22 years of teaching, I have a room full of fresh-out-of-high-school minds. These students are unique in many ways and I could spend the rest of the term writing posts about their uniqueness, but today I’m going to focus on one feature that unites them: FMOOWMP, or “Fear of Meeting One-On-One With My Professor.”

I didn’t come up with this roll-off-your-tongue acronym but I do believe it describes MANY students, not just those in their first year. Watch this 2-minute video┬áproduced by ASU (I showed it to my class) and tell me if you agree that the cure to FMOOWMP is FOH.

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I’ve never had a “no use” cell phone policy in my class. I have students use them in class sometimes; The Canvas app is great for submitting in-class work or even for taking quizzes. The research on “distracted learning,” however, is giving me pause. In fact, I’m wondering about other things I’m doing that may be a disservice to my students, like providing slides online, which I believe has caused the art of note-taking to go by the wayside.

But for now, let’s take a deep dive into multitasking. Not gonna lie, I’m all about efficiency. “Hello, I’m Kara and I’m a multitasker.” I grew up with a “non-idle hands” policy that seems to have followed me right into adulthood, so I understand students who also try to do two or three things at once, even during class. But the research doesn’t back me up on my belief that doing two things is better than one. In fact, it states just the opposite; We do tasks slower concurrently than when done sequentially. Continue reading

“My students aren’t doing the reading.” Sound familiar? I hear this all the time and certainly have experienced this universal phenomenon in my own classes. Students cite a lack of time as the most common reason for not completing the assigned reading, but if we probed a little deeper, I suspect we might learn the real reasons why they opt out. Many students don’t see the value in the reading or more specifically, think they can get by without doing it. This fact alone reveals an important problem – many students haven’t learned how to be self-directed learners.

The good news is that we can help them figure this out. Simply taking a few minutes to describe, or better yet, show them what an article, chapter, or passage might look like if they annotated it, should help. I’ve done this before and was surprised at how many students didn’t read this way.

The main point is to get students to think about what they’re reading and ask questions, relate content to what they already know, and emphasize the “aha!” moments. We can help them do this by Continue reading