Hello everyone! I know it’s been a while since I’ve written…just decided to take a little break and gather my thoughts!
At UNCG, we just started Fall Semester classes – and I’m teaching EIGHT classes this semester. Granted, they are only one credit, but it’s still 8 classes! The smallest class has 18 students, the largest, 22 students! Almost all of the students are first-year students, although I found out on Tuesday that a few sophomores, juniors, and seniors were able to enroll in the course due to a registrar’s office error. No big deal…I welcome everyone!
There are many, many article about student and student success, mainly focused on providing them the resources to be successful academically. Coaching, tutoring, technology, etc. – all tools to get them on track to finish and graduate. This week, I decided to try something different in my classes.
For the first class, instead of having them do an exercise to get them to meet others, I decided to change it up a little bit. I went over my one-page syllabus (which they truly appreciated), had them experience a 5 minutes guided meditation (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4Ey8C4o5tE), and then decided to have them share a 1-minute story about themselves, including their name, where they were from, and what they hope to be when they “grow up.” What a delightful experience!
Students truly want to connect with other students. It was amazing to watch instant connections being made when two or three found out they were from the same town, went to the same high school, or have the same dream. Also amazing: almost every student shared a story on how they want to help others in one way or another. Purpose and meaning! Watching the conversations extend beyond the classroom was a joy to see!
I am now convinced that the key to student success does not reside in the tools and academic support we provide; one of the most important keys to success is developing meaningful relationships with others – both with faculty/staff and with their fellow students. Let’s spread the message and help our students develop meaningful relationships!
So glad to see and hear! It rings true with,what we feel as human beings and not connecting impacts so much in our lives. I am using this approach for our advising learning communities. Thanks for the boost of light and vision!
ANd thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, Pam. You are so wise, dear friend!
Yes! Connections with others is what it’s all about.
For faculty & staff, our key to job satisfaction is also our connections with people. It’s not about clear directions (i.e. where to submit end of term final grades, how to sign up for paycheck direct deposit… ). Sounds silly, huh?
It’s the same for students. Yes, they must know what to do (and this tends to be our student success focus–when to register, how to study effectively…). But we can’t lose focus on helping students connect with people.
Human connection means meaning.
Meaning fuels the motivation we all need to “get our stuff done.”
Thanks Whitney for sharing! I think the connection piece will come back into play!