[This is a guest post (actually, a collated series of tweets, by Anne Trubek. Trubek is Director of Belt Publishing and author of The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting--and, to her points below, a former associate professor at Oberlin College.]
Teaching first-years today? Here are some things my son, starting college today, was never taught:
- How to address professors–Dr., Mr, Mrs., Miss, Ms., first name. Don’t get huffy if your students don’t know either. Teach them.
- How to ‘read’ a syllabus–how to understand when reading is expected to have been done, etc. Explain.
- What office hours are, why professors have them, when and how to contact professors. His high school texted him reminders of homework.
- How to format papers. It’s not something you are born with knowing, the margins and title case and all. Teach ‘em. Also, about staplers.
- How to find books in the library.
- That you are supposed to buy all your books at the beginning of the semester.
- What a database & valid research materials are, according to you. (According to his high school it’s a weird jumble of crap that makes no sense.)
- How to take notes. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. No one teaches kids how to take notes. The tool is not the issue, whether keyboard or pen.
- They are trained not to use phones or keyboards in class, & to do lots of work on pen & paper. This is silly. Let them know if you agree.
- I could go on. But if a student does something that annoys, ask: how should she have known otherwise? Who would have taught? Then teach.
Bonus 11th item: One more thing: Your assumptions about their writing? Probably wrong. Here’s what research shows: https://daily.jstor.org/student-writing-in-the-digital-age/
Have other things first-years might not know? Share ‘em in comments!Return to Top