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Skidmore College
Center for Leadership, Teaching and Learning (CLTL)

Student Voices

Student Voices 

What does effective teaching look like to you?  What is happening in the classroom?

“To me effective teaching is when a professor gives students the same amount of respect that they ask for from their students. Effective teaching excites students about a subject and offers opportunity to grow and utilize and individual’s strengths. A balance between discussions and lectures is important.”Tweet This!


“Effective teaching is both challenging and supportive. It involves truly working with students as they are grappling with the course material, acknowledging that every student learns differently and at a different pace. Effective teaching involves building relationships with students, even those that quieter and it does not take advantage of power dynamics to instill fear or pressure in the student. Effective teaching makes the student want to learn and come to class.”Tweet This!


“Teaching is effective when the professor engages the students. I hate when they ask a question and they say 'nope!' or 'incorrect.' There is a better way to go about telling a student they are wrong. It’s just very discouraging to me. The professors I have loved so far take me on a journey instead of handing me a map and saying, ‘Good luck!’ ”Tweet This!


“I think effective teaching is teaching that realizes that their classroom doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but a constantly evolving world. If something is heard in the news that affects the topic, it should be acknowledged. I think when the teacher does this it shows students that changes in the world should be observed not just in a definition sense, but in a relational sense. If a student brings up something important to them, maybe try to acknowledge it too … a bit.”Tweet This!


“A signifier of effective teaching is when all of the students within a class feel comfortable to engage in class discussions, communicate their ideas, and express whatever inquiries they might have. The teacher, in this setting, allows for a productive balance of both, their own, and student voices and incorporates their own expertise in order to provide an engaging and knowledgeable environment.”Tweet This!


“Effective teaching involves both the students and the professor in an interactive learning environment. With the small Skidmore class sizes, this can often be reflected in classroom discussions where everyone feels comfortable learning and contributing.”Tweet This!


“To me, effective teaching is getting students engaged. In most classes, I come in and sit down to be lectured. There’s the occasional questions asked to the class but usually only one or two people know the answer or no one knows it. I think when it’s the same few people answering the questions, the professor should acknowledge that something is wrong within the class and get feedback from the students regarding how to change that. I find my best and favorite classes use a lot of student feedback and actually apply what students have to say during class.”Tweet This!


“When a professor can encourage meaningful discussions focused on student input, and moderate and spur inspiration if needed. Encouraging everyone to participate but not forcing anyone to. Switching up activities and learning formats, and always checking in on students. Also, showing passion about what they are teaching.”Tweet This!


“Effective teaching is incorporating multipartiality in the classroom and making sure all voices are heard, especially those who have been historically marginalized.”Tweet This!


“Effective teaching means guiding students toward challenging dominate narratives about reality and our world. An effective teacher does not dominate, but is still very present.”Tweet This!


“To me, effective teaching in the classroom is based off energy; the energy professors put into educating students and educating themselves through the minds of students is an invaluable reward.”Tweet This!


What do you want faculty to know about teaching in an inclusive classroom?  What advice do you have?

“I’d like the faculty to know the importance of not tokenizing their students. I think it often goes unnoticed by professors because the intent is to find out more information about a certain group, but this all too often leads to tokenization and students feeling uncomfortable in a learning space.”Tweet This!


“To teach in an inclusive classroom it is important to balance all voices. If students of color aren’t speaking up, try to encourage them and hold off on calling on white students. If a student says something problematic or offensive about race, sexuality, or gender don’t just move on, but address and correct it. It is important to know how to do this in a way that a student who was genuinely informed isn’t afraid to speak up in the future.”Tweet This!


“In order to teach in an inclusive classroom, faculty must be aware of the diversity which exists—not only in identities (age, race, ethnicity, sex, etc.) but also mentalities. Faculty must be more aware of the implications of their words, and the power of words which can either encourage student participation or hinder it. Although to feel challenged in a classroom is to some degree necessary, if a student does not feel comfortable in a classroom setting this can impede their ability to learn.”Tweet This!


“An inclusive classroom is one where the voice and experiences of students is appreciated, acknowledged, and not tokenized. Don’t try to ask for a person of color’s opinion only in relation to something you think may directly relate to their culture. Make sure their views are represented on 'neutral' topics too, because the main point of view is probably filtered through a white person’s lens. Also, maybe try to include readings from people of color on your topics. White people aren’t the only ones who have written stuff.”Tweet This!


“Inclusivity is the classroom involves more than learning students’ names and calling on them for class discussions. The inclusive classroom provides a safe space for all to engage and learn. To have an inclusive environment, the professor cannot choose favorites and must help to see and bring out the potential in all students. Certainly it is wonderful to promote opportunities for students, what ultimately drives them is support and encouragement.”Tweet This!


“Respect everyone. As a professor you hold the most power in the classroom, and it is up to you to foster a safe and happy learning space.”Tweet This!


“I want faculty to know that history is present and is carried with the U.S. at all times. To be inclusive we must acknowledge the historical and present legacy and impact of events, systems, and culture. It is our obligation to understand the social implications of time on our students and faculty.”Tweet This!


“They should know that it’s part of their responsibility to make it inclusive. Faculty should ask for preferred pronouns. They should remember to never ask a student to speak on behalf of an entire identity group. They should also make sure they monitor the dominant voices in the room and control them to make space for others.”Tweet This!


“An inclusive teacher asks students to bring their experiences into the classroom but does not force student to speak or share on behalf of entire groups or social identities.”Tweet This!


“My advice: 1) encourage one-on-one meetings (especially with the shy ones); 2) pay attention to the way students treat each other before, during, and after class; and 3) ask questions! It’s the most human thing to do.”Tweet This!