We know how hard many lecturers and university tutors work to provide any support the students need. However, most of the time, it is not the will that holds you back, but the lack of resources to draw upon in these situations.
Furthermore, even when these support tools are available, students often refrain from being open and speaking about the problems they are dealing with, be that academic, social or financial.
There are several tips you can take onboard to make sure everyone gets the most out of your lectures and seminars. Every student is different, and they can’t adapt how they learn to how you teach. It is your job to adapt how you teach so that they learn.
Ideas for support
1. Finding the right course
This might seem like the job of the parent or guardian before the student comes to university. However, deciding on the right degree for your future career as early as 16 is a near-impossible task.
Teenagers rarely know what they want to become, or with which skills they will thrive. It is highly likely that you have numerous students who are on the wrong course for them. Getting to know your students as early as possible and offering to discuss the academic interests could save them years of their lives, and thousands of pounds of debt.
2. Be approachable
Most of the time, tutors or lecturers have lots of experience dealing with the issues of university students. However, it is rare for a student to feel comfortable enough to come forward about their problems, even if they knew talking could solve it.
Making sure that the students know they can approach you is no simple task. Just saying it won’t do the trick, you have to provide examples and evidence of how you have helped others like them. There is a lot of social pressure to act in a certain way.
Ideas for teaching
1. Make notes accessible online
There are several lecturers who want to force students into seats in any way possible, even being willing to risk their students’ education to enforce it.
In reality, you don’t know why your student isn’t making it to the lecture, and assuming it is laziness is detrimental to your students trust in you, and their mental health. All students go through rough periods, and some suffer from mental health issues that are exacerbated by such social situations.
By putting all your notes online, you are making your lectures accessible to all. If you want students to come to all your classes, make the content and presentation of the lectures good enough to encourage them to return.
2. Provide work in advance
Part of the university academic experience is learning those essential transferable skills, particularly organisation and time management. The best way to teach these is leading by example.
If you can provide a way for your students to plan working through the content of the course at their own speed, particularly things that can take a long time like reading lists, you offer them the opportunity to learn those essential skills. By providing those tools last minute, you set the example that that is how they should approach their work.
3. Alternative learning mediums
Every student learns differently, and the vast number of articles and lectures a student has to process is easily overwhelming. By providing alternative learning methods, you are not only accommodating for those that don’t excel through the traditional learning mediums, but you make learning your course far more accessible and engaging.
At Developing a Student, we want to do everything we can to help students and graduates reach their full potential. We can’t do this without your help, but we also don’t know what you need. If you have any ideas for tools, guides or information that would help you support your students, let us know. You can do this by using our suggestion tool at the bottom of the page.