Getting students to study

January 30, 2011   

I teach in a college. The teaching atmosphere isn't like school. We do as much as we can for the students - but expect them to act like adults. As far as I'm concerned this means that they are responsible for their own studying outside of class.

I gave my Intermediate 2 class a test the other week. After they mostly performed rather poorly we had a chat about what went wrong - was the test too hard? - did they not study? - or am I just doing a terrible job?

The answer seemed to be that they hadn't done any revision. The longest period of time anyone had revised for was 1 hour. The modal time was 20 minutes. No one stated that the test was too hard. Surprisingly no-one told me I was doing a terrible job. But if they had all done several hours of revision and thought that the test was fine, I would assume I was doing a pretty bad job of teaching.

What I'm wondering is how do I get the students to study and realise how useful revision is? I had a chat with them about it being their responsibility but I racking my brains as to anything else to say/do.

To help them I produced a feedback form - for individual feedback. We didn't have anything like this for the students. What we normally do is write feedback on their assessments + homework but I swear they don't read it (which other lecturers agree with) and we sometimes have to take the assessments back in, so the students don't get to keep the feedback.

I will see if any of this makes any difference when we have our first prelim...