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Be a Human in Your Classroom

What a tremendous start to the 2019 Teaching and Learning conference (TLC)! The diverse variety of sessions to choose from as TLC kicked off today demonstrated the careful attention that was taken to the achieve the Ashford University TLC theme: Vision 2020: Students at the Center. Educate. Connect. Inspire.

I would like to focus on this idea of connection; creating connections with one another, connecting with students and best practices for doing so. In her session; Empathy in Education: Online Teaching through a Person-Centered Approach, Dr. Cara Metz provided best practices using empathy and personalization which she has honed and currently utilizes to create connections in her classroom. Dr. Metz discussed her approach to making the time to conscientiously search for connections with your students. She emphasizes that by learning more about your student’s background and trying to recognize where they are coming from results in an increased understanding of the students’ motivation and ability to distinguish students as individuals. Even simply reaching out to learners when they seem to be having an “off” week and expressing support demonstrates to a student that they are cared for and that a real person is invested in their success.

In her feedback, Dr. Metz routinely expresses gratitude for the effort and time her students invested in their work. Additionally, in Dr. Metz’s assessment, student’s respond more actively to her video feedback, even to the point that she receives videos from students in response.

In the end, Dr. Metz challenges us, as educators, to choose one action to implement in our classrooms to make the classroom more person centered.

Haley Pestner

Faculty Support and Development Manager, Events and Communication

Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

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