Teaching and Learning Tips

ACK Scientific Research Center is pleased to announce two research awards for the academic year 2017/2018. The aim of the research awards is to promote excellence research by ACK faculty members.

Teaching Tips
  1. Introduce yourself to your class Tell students about your background; how you became interested in the subject, how it is important to you, why you are teaching this course and genuinely convey your enthusiasm for the field and subject.  This will engage your students and create initial interest in the subject.
  2. Learn students’ names Learning and using students’ names will create a more comfortable classroom environment where you can encourage student interaction. Also, it shows your care and awareness of the class.
  1. Divide students into small groups Give groups small tasks such as brainstorming, discussions and interpretation. This encourages team work before you set them out on a team assignment.
  1. Validate comments and questions Make your students feel free and comfortable to ask any question in class without the feeling of being judged. It helps both the learning process of students and shows your sense of caring.
  1. Motivate It’s students’ desire to engage in learning and do well; it is the direction for energy and passion towards a goal. Students who did well in college were not necessarily the ones who had excelled academically. Rather, they were the ones who were optimistic, resilient and socially adept.
  1. Rewards and consequences Instructors should use strategies to encourage behaviors they want to see or push students to complete a task. Rewards increase students’ level of interest and participation in classroom activities. Incentives motivate students to be more productive and have sense of achievement.
  1. Sense of belonging The feeling of “belonging in college” was a main factor that consistently protected against risk and distress. Find ways to value students in the college community and other social groups in college. In fact, research has shown that high standards and expectations give students the sense of caring from college and its staff.
  1. Feedback Students are motivated to take the extra academic step when they perceive their teachers’ feedback as a genuine desire to help them rather than as an expression of indifference. It’s been proven that feedback increases learning and improve students’ outcome.
  1. Paying attention by having an interesting lecture The more effort we devote on getting students to pay attention by giving real life examples and relating subjects to students’ benefits, the less likely we are to ask whether those assignments are actually worth doing, or to rethink an arrangement where teachers mostly talk and students mostly listen.
  1. Develop and maintain positive and meaningful relationship with students Students care when they feel cared about. Students are less likely to drop out and achieve higher rates when they have an ongoing connection with their instructor.
  1. Develop growth mindsets for students Brainology, is a curriculum developed by Stanford Psychology Professor Carol Dweck who popularized the concept of academic mindsets. Dweck’s research shows that students can turn fixed mindsets—the belief that intelligence is finite—into growth mindsets—the conviction that the harder they work, the more their intelligence will grow. Implant in your students the belief that ‘whenever there’s a will there’s a way’ and that there’s nothing impossible to attain as long as hard work is there.
  1. Be a role model and build character education Be a role model in respect to time, team work, organization and communication. Then teach students in ways designed to help them become ethical, virtuous, honest, and civic-minded individuals. This will produce effective contributors to the job market and society.
Learning Tips
  1. Make your own study notes The aim of taking notes is to summarize lectures in your own words which helps you remember the information and ideas easily.
  1. Underlining This is one of the simplest tips. First you should have a comprehensive reading of the text and on the second reading highlight the notable aspects. This helps you engage with certain aspects of the text.
  1. Case studies Some courses may have diverse and complicated theories and explanations. Case studies help you visualize and implement the theory in a more familiar context.
  1. Brainstorming Since many of the courses involve group work, sitting together and brainstorming is a great way to expand the ideas and topics. This helps you and group members to come up with greater ideas and solutions.
  1. Organize your study You need to have a schedule and plan for your studies. It should include the timing and goals you want to achieve at the end of each day or week. There is plenty of software online that can help you set up your timetable or you can do it yourself as well.
  1. Take breaks While you may think studying for long hours may benefit you and help you understand more, sometimes this can be counterproductive. Studies have shown that taking regular breaks can help you retain information and knowledge. However, do not forget that everyone has a different system and approach to studying. First identify your routine then allocate some time for your break. For example, if you prefer studying in the morning, start early and take a break by lunchtime, then continue studying.
  1. Practice variety of questions Practicing is an effective way of learning. Do not concentrate only on one type of question or scenario. Search for more detailed and complicated questions and try to solve them on your own.
  1. Use flowcharts and diagrams Visual aids can effectively help the learning process and makes it easier to understand the subject. Start by reading the topic then try to summarize all you understood by drawing a diagram or flowchart.
  1. Use your own words When studying do not try to memorize the concept, if you want it to stay in your long-term memory you have to understand it. First read the subject and then try to explain it to yourself in your own words. Make sure what you have understood has the same meaning as the topic.
  1. Be positive Your attitude can make a difference on your studies and learning. Being positive helps you to be less anxious and be more productive. Think about your strengths and how they can help you achieve your goals.
  1. Have good sleep before any assessment Overnight studying consumes energy, which means during assessment time you’ll be left with low level of energy which may lead to poor results.
  1. Don’t eat chocolate instead have a short walk before your exam It’s wrongly believed that eating chocolate before an exam may boost your intellectual energy; although chocolate boosts your energy for the first half an hour it will drop below average after that. Instead have a walk; studies have proven that having 20 minutes of exercise before an exam can boost your scores.