The One Question We’re Not Asking Our Students

Series: CTLT Institute

Event Date & Time

  • December 4, 2018
    3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Event Description

We all work hard at making our courses stronger so that students gain many benefits from the thoughtfulness each of us have put into our efforts. But the success of a course and a teacher is not manifested on paper alone. If a student doesn’t learn, we haven’t taught them well. Teaching is more than effort and thoughtfulness in course design though it’s about being a decent human being and connecting with our students.

Students are drawn toward teachers with whom they feel connected so they can take risks in expressing themselves, their thoughts and ideas without fear of social retribution. An environment that is one of intellectual, creative and psychological safety. All of us can recall a teacher who left a positive impact on our lives, an impact was not the result of learning the subject matter they taught but the way they taught us, the investment they had in our learning, the humility and openness they demonstrated as fellow human beings. So the question is, how can we establish and maintain psychological safety with a cognitively and creatively diverse group of students?

This interactive presentation will discuss different strategies and their benefits that can be adapted to building trust with your students. And it starts with asking a basic question that most of us neglect when considering our students – what’s in it for me? Or, why should I care?

In this highly collaborative and collegial session, attendees will be encouraged to contribute to the discussion and participate in exercises ranging from reviewing and sharing anecdotes and resources, reflecting on best practices and offering suggestions to reinvigorate their teaching practice. They will work individually, in pairs and in small groups.

At the end of the session, attendees will be able to:

  • Articulate and apply various strategies to connect with their students
  • Describe the benefits of building trust and buy-in with students in any discipline
  • Explain how the 80/20 rule (listening vs speaking) aids in helping students develop critical thinking
  • Develop a detailed plan for building trust in their next course


John Vigna, Instructor, Creative Writing Program