You see, I teach a lot of freshmen, first year college students. As in, they were just in high school in May, and then show up in my college class in August.
So I'm thinking now about how I can better help the freshmen I teach in Intro to Education understand the difference in expectations for their learning from high school to college. Because if I'm going to expect them to be dramatically different learners than they were in high school, they need to understand the difference.
We (college faculty) sometimes say things like, "You aren't in high school anymore!" I think this is meant to inspire/shock/encourage/scare freshmen into understanding that there is a significant difference in expectation for the level of work that is expected for learning in college. Specifically, they need to be more self-directed, and listen closely, and think deeply, and synthesize things without someone necessarily laying out bite-sized pieces in a tidy trail of thinking.
And, really, this is what I want from my college students. They aren't in high school anymore. The work should be substantially more demanding. They will have to learn to approach learning differently--perhaps dramatically differently than they did in high school.
In the "Message to My Freshman Students" I've linked above, the author goes out of his way to make it clear that he believes that college students have to become acculturated to their new environment, very much like integrating into "another country, one with different culture and values." And I agree with that sentiment. But I am also thinking about my role in helping them make this transition.
I mean, really...when they come into my classroom at the end of August, they are expected to suddenly, immediately exhibit this new way of thinking, right? When just three months ago, they had to ask permission to use the bathroom. Talk about a shift in culture!
So, my question to you all...how can I help my first-year students make a good, healthy, mindful transition into the expectations of "college learning?" How do we welcome these immigrants into a new culture?
|Image by CharlottesPhotoGallery [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0]|