Teaching for Tenure and Beyond: Strategies for Maximizing Your Student Ratings

By Franklin H. Silverman | Go to book overview

7

Making Subject Matter Seem Clear

How material is presented to students influences the amount of it they’re likely to learn for at least two reasons. First, students can’t learn material well unless it’s presented in ways that are meaningful and clear to them. A number of factors that can affect clarity of presentation are dealt with in this chapter and some strategies for both coping with and utilizing them to enhance it are described.

A second reason why the manner in which material is presented influences the amount of it that students are likely to learn is that some students believe they can’t understand material well unless it is presented to them (i.e., organized) in a particular way. Having such a certainty can discourage them from investing adequately to learn, thereby yielding a self-fulfilling prophecy. Some factors that can affect a student’s confidence in his or her ability to understand course material are dealt with in this chapter and some strategies for enhancing it are described.

One reality that all instructors must face is that students differ with regard to their learning ability, learning style, and experience and these can profoundly affect their ability to understand concepts. Consequently, a “one size fits all” approach to explaining concepts is unlikely to be adequate if you really want all of your students to understand them to the extent they’re capable of doing so. There are suggestions in the next section for coping with individual differences in learning ability, learning style, and experience.

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