N. Christine Brookes

Faculty Voices Series: That One Weird Trick

N. Christine Brookes, Professor of French

I always feel like I am the last to give teaching advice. I am nowhere near as methodical or as organized as others, whose teaching I admire. I can hardly say that I even feel like I know what I am doing, especially in these last months of quick turns to online and HyFlex teaching.

The only thing of which I am sure is that I work hard to connect with students. I make good use of a lot of humor, to lower their affective filters and allow learning to happen. I reach out individually, no matter the modality. I create community by referencing their good work or thoughts, and I treat them as teammates in the exploration of whatever our topics might be. Most of all, I allow for them to be every bit as human as I am—making room and time for what needs room and time; allowing for their failures, and mine, with some degree of patience and grace; and, above all, listening to their needs and desires, even if they challenge my own.

Concretely in a multiple modality meeting, this means—you guessed it—a lot of communication: announcements, individual web chats, emails, informative Blackboard shells, etc. Reach out to your students in every way possible as often as you’re able. I can vouch for the fact that this one practice can cover up for a multitude of sins and lays the groundwork for good teaching and learning.

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