How to Connect with Hard-to

Jessica DeCola
Workshop Presentation
“How to Connect with Hard-to-Reach Students”
“Regardless of age, ethnicity, academic background , educational goals, or the path to college, students reveal tremendous anxiety
about their educational trajectories and ability to succeed in college.”
Rebecca Cox The College Fear Factor: How Students and Professors Misunderstand One Another
Problem: Students not handing in major assignments, missing classes, disappearing, etc…
I’m working on changing the way I view these types of problems by putting more consideration into the anxiety students are
experiencing. I’ve been trying to develop ways to connect more with students so I can get a better sense of how I might be able to
help through my teaching approaches.
Here are a few things that I have started doing:
An introduction letter
Thinking more about how to scaffold the first assignment so that students are more likely to turn it in.
Mid semester “This is What College is Supposed to Feel Like” talk
A mid semester check in to follow up the introduction letter (and maybe more frequently than that)
Introduction Letter
Due: Thursday, January 26, 2012
Assignment: Write a letter to me in which you introduce yourself as a writer and a student.
Please address the following in your letter:
Why you decided to take college classes
What you hope to accomplish by taking college classes
What you hope to get out of this class
Descriptions of some of your past experiences with reading and writing (both in school and out of school)
Your likes and dislikes in terms of reading and writing in school
Whether or not you enjoy reading and writing out of school (please explain)
Your interests
Anything that you want me to know about you that might be helpful to me in supporting you to be successful in this class
Your concerns and questions about any aspect of this course
Anything else you think is important to add
“Through all my experiences with people struggling to learn, the one thing that strikes me the most is the ease with which we
misperceive failed performance and the degree to which this misperception both reflects and reinforces the social order.”
Mike Rose Lives on the Boundary