This is “Interacting with Instructors and Classes”, chapter 7 from the book Success in College (v. 1.0).
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Assess your present knowledge and attitudes.
|1. I talk with my college instructors outside of class.|
|2. I participate in class discussions, ask questions in class, and volunteer to answer questions posed by my instructors.|
|3. I go to all my classes except when prevented by illness or an emergency.|
|4. I prepare for classes and make an active effort to pay attention and get the most from class lectures.|
|5. In lecture classes, I read other materials, check for phone messages or e-mail, and talk with friends.|
|6. I don’t sign up for classes when I hear other students say the instructor is boring or difficult.|
|7. I talk to my instructors in their offices only if I have a problem with a specific assignment.|
|8. I write effective, professional e-mails to my instructors when appropriate.|
|9. I am comfortable giving presentations in class and know how to prepare successfully.|
|10. When assigned to work with a group to give a presentation, I take the lead and help ensure everyone works together well in his or her specific roles.|
Think about how you answered the questions above. Be honest with yourself. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your interactions with your instructors and other students at this time?
|Not very effective||Very successful|
In the following list, circle the three most important areas in which you think you can improve:
Are there other areas also in which you can improve how you interact with instructors and other students to get the most out of your college education? Write down other things you feel you need to work on.
Here’s what we’ll work on in this chapter:
Throughout this text you have been reading about how success in college depends on your active participation in the learning process. Much of what you get out of your education is what you yourself put into it. This chapter considers how to engage in the learning process through interactions with your instructors and other students. Students who actively interact with others in the educational experience are much more successful than passive students who do not.
Yet relatively few college students consistently interact with their instructors and other students in class. Typically only five to seven students in a class, regardless of the class’s size, do most of the participating. Why is that? If you’re just too shy, you can learn to feel comfortable participating.
Interacting with instructors and participating in class discussions with other students is among the most important steps you can take to make sure you’re successful in college. The real essence of a college education is not just absorption of knowledge and information but learning a way of thinking that involves actively responding to the ideas of others. Employers seek graduates who have learned how to think critically about situations and ideas, to solve new problems, and to apply traditional knowledge in new circumstances. And these characteristics come from active participation in the learning process.
To understand why interaction is so important in college, let’s look again at some of the typical differences between high school and college instructors: