6 inquiries to ask college students at first of the college yr |

contributed by Chris Butterworth, ziplet.com

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It’s back to school. 🙂

Whether you’ve been teaching for ages or are a newbie, it is a critical time that sets the tone for the remainder of the year – especially given the extraordinary global events of the past 18 months, not least of which for many one on teaching and rearrange learning from a distance.

Students who come into your class ask themselves: How will I feel in this class? Will my teacher understand me? Will I feel comfortable with my colleagues?

Every student has their own story. Your own unique desires, challenges, and experiences. It is our job to go beyond superficial introductions. To really listen when our students tell us who they are. Knowledge of our students will improve our teaching and learning. So what should we find out?

Here are six meaningful questions to ask students when they walk into your classroom.

1. What is your greatest strength?

“There needs to be a lot more emphasis on what a child can do rather than what they can’t.” – Grandin Temple

We all have strengths. As teachers, it is our job to help students make use of them.

By encouraging students to recognize their best qualities, we are:

  • Increase your motivation and your self-confidence
  • improve their performance
  • Improving the student-teacher relationship

You might want to have a whole class brainstorming session with different types of strengths. This can help students identify themselves.

2. What does “success” look like for you in this class?

Success means different things to different people.

For some, it’s just about achieving the ultimate goal. For others, it’s more about the process and learning along the way. As teachers, it is our responsibility to help our students see what success means to them. We can then question their perceptions to aid their learning.

It’s a great idea to have a class discussion first about what success looks like in our society. Ask students how it makes them feel and what they would change about their point of view. Knowing what success means for our students helps us:

  • understand their self-awareness
  • motivate them accordingly
  • adjust our expectations as teachers

3. What do you like to do outside of class?

We all know that students have a life outside of school. It is our privilege and responsibility to use these real life experiences.

Asking this question shows students that we value their experiences beyond the classroom. When students feel we are invested in them, they are more motivated to do their best. We can also customize our lessons to encourage students to use a hobby to aid their learning.

For example, if a student enjoys listening to podcasts, encourage them to look for podcasts related to the concepts being taught. The same concept could be applied to YouTubers, streamers, video games, books, etc.

4. What strategies do you use when teaching is challenging?

Asking this question gives an insight into how students approach learning.

As a lecturer, you can support your students in identifying relevant approaches. Students are encouraged to identify emotional and cognitive strategies for overcoming challenges. For example, take a deep breath, take a break, and record your thoughts.

It can also refer to specific ones To learn Strategies. You can encourage students to use these to help understand a challenging concept. Once you understand students’ strategies, you can encourage them to use them as they struggle with new concepts and skills.

5. What is your “work environment” like at home?

As teachers, we know that learning does not take place in a vacuum.

It is important that students have a supportive home environment. Without it, they will find it difficult to consolidate their learning. As a class, find out what a “good work environment” looks like. This includes access to study materials, supporting furniture, a quiet place and a reliable internet connection.

Students may find it embarrassing to openly discuss these challenges. With tools like Ziplet, it’s never been easier to gain insight while maintaining student confidentiality. Gaining insight into their domestic challenges helps build our compassion. Therefore, we adapt our teaching process to the individual needs of the students.

With this knowledge we are able to support students. We can discuss changes that can be made or forward them to support services.

6. It would be great if we could do this in class …

Learners know better than anyone what their likes and dislikes are.

According to Amelia Ruscoe of ECU’s School of Education, they are “best placed to provide feedback … (we are) acknowledge their freedom of choice and give them input with respect.” When students feel heard, their motivation to learn increases. Encourage students to think about how and what they would like to incorporate into teaching and learning.

You will likely receive a practical and diverse collection of suggestions from your students. You can tailor your lessons to suit students’ learning preferences.


The beginning of the year is an exciting time for you and your students. It’s the perfect opportunity to get to know your students on a deeper level. The better you know them, the better you can tailor your lessons to their needs and improve learning outcomes.

All of these questions and more can be found in Ziplet, a free tool for teachers that makes exit tickets easy. Try it yourself, create your free account.

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