Tact and Kindness

This link was sent to me by Dr. Suzanne Summers, Professor of History.  Please take the next seven minutes and watch the video. While the setting may be Stanford, the comments of these students – typically first in their families to go to college – can  help us understand our students here at ACC.

The premise of the video is “what I wish my professor knew” about the world view and experiences of first generation and/or low income students  The wisdom of the students is wonderful.  In watching the video, these observations stood out to me.  One student asks that as professors we recognize that we are not “the sole holder of knowledge” in the classroom.  We can and should honor the knowledge and experiences that our students  bring to the classroom.  Many of us do this with classroom discussions, or active learning projects, or other approaches – but it’s always nice to be reminded of the perspectives that our students bring that enrich the learning experience for all.

Another student recommends that we take the time to talk about things like office hours – what they’re for, why we hold them, how students can benefit from coming to see us during office hours.  We all know that many of our students find their professors intimidating, so perhaps requiring a visit from each student during office hours could help us break down some barriers and build up some sense of belonging.

One of the students on the video encourages faculty to have “an open mind and open ear”.  It is sometimes too easy to get into our classroom rhythms and forget to listen to our students, so a reminder to be open to who they are, what they’re struggling with, and what they have to say is always welcome.

A final comment from a student recommends that we all try to provide guidance to our students “with tact and kindness”.  I’ll leave you with that.  As we all try to help our students learn, let’s also try to help them figure out life as a college student, recognizing that we don’t know their work schedule or their family obligations, and they could be nodding off in class because they just got off the night shift.  Let’s all try to think about the value of providing guidance to our students “with tact and kindness”.