First Day of Class 2019

Many are beginning classes soon, so I would like share two Guides and a list, which might assist. The Chronicle of Higher Ed has published recent Guides, one entitled, "How to Teach a Good First Day of Class" by Lang (author of Small Teaching) and "How to Make Your Teaching More Inclusive" by Sathy and Hogan.

Lang (2019) shares four major principals:

  1. Curiosity: Day 1 is your best opportunity to spark curiosity. In Bain's book, What the Best College Teachers Do, he states that instructors should build and present learning experiences around deep questions.

  2. Community: "We do not teach brains on sticks." Humanize yourself; Greet each student; and Give students an opportunity to communicate with one another [avoid the dreaded icebreaker].

  3. Learning: Ask students to try a cognitive task before they are ready; and Invite students to think about the course from a metacognitive perspective.

  4. Expectations: Don’t read the syllabus; Give students access, then highlight the major elements; and allow time for questions.

Sathy and Hogan (2019) remind us that "teaching inclusively means embracing student diversity in all forms — race, ethnicity, gender, disability, socioeconomic background, ideology, even personality traits like introversion — as an asset." They organize their guide in categories of Common Questions; Key Principles of Inclusive Teaching; Ways to Interact Inclusively With Students; Ideas for Inclusive Course Design; How Will You Know If Your Efforts Are Working? and Resources. Ways to Interact include:

  1. Get comfortable with periods of silence in your classroom.

  2. Add structure to small-group discussions.

  3. Allow anonymous participation.

  4. Counteract self-perceptions that stunt student learning.

  5. Connect with students personally.

IHE just came out with What the Freshman Know list, which may help guide connecting your class examples and creating an inclusive environment. Also, you may wish to use Inclusive Strategies from U-M Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT).

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