As we approach the end of the semester, here are some ideas for finishing the semester strong.
- Zoom Out: Remind students where they started, what they’ve learned, and why it matters. This will help them to consolidate what they’ve learned, and see its big-picture value. This can be done in a lecture, in a conversation, in the final exam or project. Here is a call for Grand Finales, not just Finals: https://www.chronicle.com/article/Final-Exams-or-Epic-Finales/231871
- Give feedback, not just grades. Because you will not see students in person after final assignments are submitted, there can be a temptation to assign final grades and but skimp on final feedback. Try to give students detailed feedback on their final projects and on their participation grade. This will help them learn fully from the experience and take those lessons with them to their future endeavours.
- Share resources for further inquiry. Perhaps you can point out a journal or podcast subscription relevant to your course material. Or note courses being offered at Yale-NUS or NUS next semester that build on work you’ve done this semester. This not only helps students identify avenues for further learning but reminds them that learning is an ongoing journey they can direct for themselves.
- Celebrate and say goodbye. This can be done during class or arranging a meal in the dining hall. Some moment to acknowledge and offer closure to the time spent together can help students appreciate the opportunity they’ve had to learn together and from you this semester and offer some emotional closure as well. Here is a resource with many ideas of ways of providing closure and saying goodbye: https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/parting-ways-ending-your-course
- Collect Valuable Information: Consider devoting class time for students to complete their course evaluations. I also recommend adding customized questions to your student evaluations that allow you to get feedback and document your distinctive teaching strategies and strengths.
- Consider What You’ll Do Differently Next Time. While the course is fresh in your mind, look over the syllabus, assignments, and lesson plans and note any changes you want to make in the future. Here are a series of prompts for self-reflection: http://languages.oberlin.edu/blogs/ctie/2013/11/24/learning-from-the-semester/