How to Favorably Impress the Instructor
- Be early. Arrive at class, and find a seat from which you can see and be
seen. Get your equipment (pens, pencils, notebook) out. Quickly review your
notes from the last session, and be ready to ask questions if you have any.
- Greetings. Smile at the instructor (it makes him/her feel wanted) and at your
fellow students (you may need their brains).
- Dress and Demeanor. Research has demonstrated that neat attire and attitude
go a long way.
- Prepare. Read the material before the lecture. You will find you will need to
take fewer notes and be able to listen more carefully (see next). If a tape
recording would help, ask permission. Continue to take notes, and remember to
listen to the recording as soon as possible after class; listen with your notes
at hand. If there is work to be handed in, have it ready. Word processing allows
you to have fewer errors. Name, class, assignment number or name and date go in
the upper right-hand corner, with multiple pages numbered and stapled, unless
- Read, Read and Read. Bookstores and libraries are really lovely places. Find
“quick guides,” and go through them within the first two weeks of a class. They
will give you the context of the material (it all can’t be taught at once). Read
purposefully. Try and relate the material to both a personal and global context.
Each field has it’s own dictionary and encyclopedia; find them, and refer to
them throughout the course. Read a daily and weekly newspaper and magazine. Ask
the instructor (nicely) for the names of other texts, journals and reference
- Write, Write and Write. Rewrite your notes so you know what they mean. If
there are gaps, ask someone who knows (see next). Make flash cards, and create
mnemonic devices for terms and concepts. Work on “hooks.” Draw relationship
charts. Keep a journal.
- Study with Someone Who Cares. Find people in the class who are really
interested in learning. Work with them before, after and between classes.
- Coffee, Etc. Many of us need a cup of coffee. Bring a covered mug that is
less likely to spill. Be careful with your soda pop, and always remember to
recycle. Eating, cleaning out your purse, doing your nails and doing homework
from this or other classes are real turnoffs.
- Absences. Avoid them at all costs. If you have been absent, go to the
instructor’s office to explain; do not make your explanation in or before class.
If there is work or material you missed, try to get it from a classmate. If you
cannot, explain that to the instructor.
- Appear Teachable. It is amazing how much nicer a teacher can be when you look
like and act the role of the student. This does not mean asking any and all
questions to get attention. In fact, if you formulate the question and write it
down, sometimes it will answer itself, or the teacher will get to it. If not,
you can ask it an appropriate time. You can and should write out the answer you
Taken from Innovation Abstracts, Volume XXV, Number 17
The National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development
The University of Texas at Austin
Jerry Clavner, Professor, Social Science
Cuyahoga Community College