A Faculty Focus piece published today by Linda Shadiow and Maryellen Weimar called “The Rhythms of the Semester” highlights ways professors can help students negotiate “the arc” of the course.
The early weeks hold promise and high hopes, both often curtailed when the first assignments are graded. The final weeks find us somewhere between being reluctant or relieved to see a class move on. There is an inexplicable but evident interaction between our teaching persona and the persona a class develops throughout a semester.
It’s a good discussion. The authors advise
- Calling attention to the structure of the semester
- Developing a community in the opening weeks
- Revitalizing the class during mis-semester doldrums (inviting a guest speaker, for instance, or “using an unusual resource”)
- Achieving closure in the final weeks.
The creative ferment a classroom can bring into being – educator and students together – is a most wonderful thing, and can go on beyond semester’s end.