Is Your Syllabus Sending the Wrong Message?
Your syllabus and classroom policies set the tone for your class, but they may not be creating a welcoming learning environment. Learn tips designed to help you use classroom policies to support student engagement and a smooth-running classroom.
Use classroom policies to support student engagement
They say you have only one chance to make a first impression.
If that’s true, what is your syllabus saying about your class?
Find out how you can use your syllabus to create interest and inspire learning in your courses in Is Your Syllabus Sending the Wrong Message? featuring Maryellen Weimer, Ph.D., award-winning educator and editor of The Teaching Professor newsletter.
This video is just 20 minutes, which is long enough to deliver actionable insights, but short enough to fit anyone's schedule.
Realize the problems
Your syllabus and classroom policies set the tone for your class, but they may not be creating a welcoming learning environment. Weimer has identified two significant ways classroom policies can be counterproductive:
- Policy creep—This develops when professors attempt to close loopholes and prevent student misbehavior by adding policy after policy, year after year.
- An authoritarian tone—By focusing on the negative and laying down the law, policies can promote an adversarial environment from the start
Take advantage of the opportunities
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Weimer shares course design tips and supplemental materials designed to help you use classroom policies to support student engagement and a smooth-running classroom. You’ll explore two alternative approaches to help you spark motivation and clarify responsibility:
- Abandoning the quest to write policies to cover all potential problems
- Getting students involved in setting policies
After completing this classroom management focused program, you’ll be able to:
- Articulate a proactive, student-focused role for classroom policies in the syllabus
- Identify three key concerns about the function of classroom policies in your syllabus
- Describe alternative approaches to classroom policy design
- Incorporate effective classroom policy design in your next syllabus
Product Code: PM22IA
Maryellen Weimer has edited The Teaching Professor newsletter since 1987 and writes the Teaching Professor Blog.
The Teaching Professor Blog features a new weekly post from Maryellen on such topics as: the scholarship of teaching and learning, classroom policies, active learning, assessment, generational differences, and student performance.
She is a professor emerita of Teaching and Learning at Penn State Berks and won Penn State’s Milton S. Eisenhower award for distinguished teaching in 2005. Dr. Weimer has a Ph.D. in Speech Communication from Penn State.
Dr. Weimer has consulted with over 450 colleges and universities on instructional issues and regularly keynotes national meetings and regional conferences throughout the US and Canada.
She has published several books, including: Inspired College Teaching: A Career-Long Resource for Professional Growth (Jossey-Bass, 2010), Enhancing Scholarly Work on Teaching and Learning: Professional Literature that Makes a Difference (Jossey-Bass, 2006), Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice (Jossey-Bass, 2002).
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