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On Monday, January 17, 2005, at 07:10 AM, Jeremy Butler wrote:
>
> This is all part of an on-going issue I'm struggling with:  How does 
> one encourage students to do course readings?
>
Jeremy raises an interesting question here and as someone who is rather 
new to the classroom I'd be interested in hearing how some of the more 
seasoned professors on this list handle this issue when dealing with 
undergrads.

Since I first stepped foot in a classroom, I've worked under the 
assumption that most students do not spend much time preparing for 
classes. Instead they seem to assume that professors will impart all, 
or at least most, of the necessary information during the class 
meetings. Due to this, I have made a habit of outlining assigned 
readings (or a similar reading if you want to keep lectures fresh for 
those who do read). Then, I lecture from those outlines, supply 
pertinent examples of the concepts discussed and provide students 
access to the lecture notes I have created. In other words, I spoon 
feed them.

I think this process often leads students to believe they can avoid the 
readings in favor of the lecture notes. In my short experience, it does 
seem that students read my lecture notes. Even when they do not, they 
usually get a sufficient dose of the lesson in class lectures and often 
seem more open to participate in class discussions once they have 
become familiarized with the concepts being discussed. In essence, they 
end up reading abbreviated versions of the assigned essays which is 
probably more than they do in many classes.

However, I can also see where some of my colleagues might view the 
process I undertake as part of the problem instead of a potential 
solution. Is my process an answer to this problem or is really just 
avoiding and accepting that problem?

-chad

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