Two types of students?

January 21, 2016 by Joshua
in Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership

I teach, but not how nearly all my teachers taught me. I teach experientially. I try to avoid lecturing. I try to include in the classroom the challenges life will challenge students with, not abstractions.

Nearly all my students come from years of lecturing and abstract learning.

I find two broad types of students. I don’t think they’re different types of people. I think they come from different types of backgrounds.

The first type wants to learn about leadership or entrepreneurship. The second type wants to learn to do them. I spent most of my life and education in the first type. Obviously, I’ve moved into the second type and prefer it.

Which type are you of the following, if either?

The first type often takes the class to satisfy an administrative requirement. I find its members seem less engaged and demand more of me to give them answers. They connect the material to grades and assignments.

The second type demand more of themselves. I find its members learn more on their own than best lecturer could teach them. They do more. They connect the material to their lives.

The first type questions my credentials. I’m not sure because the reviews are anonymous, but I think that they’ll say in reviews that I make course too much about myself.

The second group seems to evaluate me less and act on the exercises more. Its members seem inspired by my achievements, not caring about my credentials, and admire my candor and stories and how personal the class is.

I’m thinking about this stuff because I recently got my student reviews. I got reviews like these:

Joshua Spodek student evaluations

“This is one of the greatest classes I have ever taken. It was engaging, thought provoking, challenging, and fun. Josh is an incredible teacher, mentor, and friend to everyone in the class who is passionate about the subject matter. If I could take this class all over again, I would”

Joshua Spodek student evaluations

“As a senior, this was the first course that challenged me, asking me to think outside my comfort zones. Yet, it is also where I have developed a strong network of supporters through the group projects.”

Joshua Spodek student evaluations

“10/10 would take again! I loved every second of this class, but what’s cooler, is that I think I may have loved the homework even more.”

These were anonymous, so I don’t know which students wrote them, though, like any teacher, I’m glad to get such reviews. I also try to understand when students write less positive reviews for the same class to help improve the courses for all who take it.

One of my great joys is when someone moves from the first group to the second and I can see them feel and act on inspiration.

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