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Teaching Philosophy

Volume 43, Issue 1, March 2020

David Sackris
Pages 71-92

How to Encourage Reading and Learning in the College Classroom

In this article I argue that the best way to ensure that students engage with assigned reading is by having open-ended questions that require textual interpretation to accompany every class session. Although this runs contrary to a recent trend of using multiple-choice questions or true/false questions to ensure reading compliance, using questions that require written responses has four key benefits: (1) such questions result in 75 percent of students completing the assigned reading; this leads to more successful class discussions, and a deeper dive into the course material. (2) Daily assignments can be used to develop specific skills that the instructor would like students to demonstrate. (3) When students come to class having completed the reading, it is much easier to assign productive group assignments. (4) When students engage in significant reading and writing tasks within a semester, critical thinking, reading and writing skills are more likely to be improved.

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