Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Can we get students to come to our office hours?

In a recent post, Faculty Focus offers some tips for encouraging students to interact with their professors outside of class. Some of the tips (which students themselves generated in the course of 33 in-depth interviews) are pretty basic, like "be there for office hours." Others, though, are tips that can pretty easily be added to our teaching routines if we're not already doing them. For example:
Write your email and office hours on the board regularly, maybe even every class session at the beginning of the course. Say more times than you think necessary that you welcome questions, comments, and the chance to interact with students.
Offer tutorials during office hours and encourage small groups of students to attend. 
In sum, the authors state,
students do pay attention to those classroom behaviors that convey we care. If we vigilantly maintain our office hours and employ the strategies recommended by these students, then we can more actively engage students in academic discourse, facilitate a deeper understanding of our fields and their associated professions, and serve as better advisors and mentors.