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Dr. Elena Bratishenko, Assistant Professor

Submitted by admin on Mon, 2008/02/11 - 3:31pm.
  • Faculty: Humanities
  • Department: Germanic, Slavic, and East Asian Studies
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Teaching Awards

Great teachers involve their students meaningfully in the course. How do you engage your students?

I believe it's important to create a narrower, more individualized context within a broader one for everyone who enters a given field. Every student comes into a course with a different goal and from a certain background. If you manage to get to know your students on closer terms, you can successfully adapt your contents to suit their diverse needs. You can then appropriately refer to their personal "domain" and this, I believe, makes them fully engaged. They appreciate your interest and attention. They begin to see an immediate connection to what they are learning, they have wonderful insights they were unaware of previously. In my experience, this sustains and cultivates their enthusiasm. (Of course, it helps to have classes of a size where you can indeed get acquainted with each student on a more personal basis!) Another aspect that helps meaningful student engagement is to continually express your own enthusiasm about what you teach, because it inspires them. It's contagious. But overall, one has to be flexible. Every class, as a group of rather different individuals, needs adjustments in your teaching approaches, so, if you are observant, genuinely interested in your students' success, and humble enough to learn from them while teaching, they will be involved.