Because I’m an active blogger I’m forever getting the question, “Do you ever work?”
The answer is yes; here’s a quick example.
My former student int he Department of Architecture at Hampton University, Iroda Karimova, emailed this to me from her smart phone today:
It was also nice to talk to you too. We haven’t see you for a while. I hope you are enjoying your oversea experience. I sometimes read your blogs, to see how you we doing.
Yes sometimes I wish I could hear your critiques, especially when I did good :). Your critiques were short, to the point, emphasizing important accomplishments, and sometimes not too enjoyable but helpful.
Thank you for sending me this post.
See you soon.
Whew! It sounds like I was doing my job correctly. Part of that job is to help students learn to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. I’ve got to challenge them to address weaknesses I see. Effective teaching requires a careful balance of challenge and support (Sanford, 1962). I aim to provide that and to help students reach just a bit farther than they are comfortable doing (this is called a “plus-one” approach to teaching).
Good students, like Iroda, recognize that challenges are presented to help them grow and that the professor’s main role is to help guide them in their own learning. Receiving critique is never pain free, but it is necessary for growth and development.
Here’s the very quick reply I dashed off:
Thanks for your note, Iroda!
You always do excellent work. I wanted to make sure to help you reach for the stars, though. You’re really terrific at technical ways of thinking. As a second-year instructor, my job is to try to help students develop fluency in multiple ways of thinking… particularly the ways they find foreign or uncomfortable.
I’ve attached a chart to explain (it’s from a paper I was working on Tuesday). Most students come to college very good at one corner/quadrant of the chart. You were exceptionally good at Convergent thinking. I’d say you left second year with new skills in that realm, but more importantly, with new skills in the other three quadrants as well.
Below is a chart I made to describe Kolb’s (1984) theory. It is based on a similar chart published by Evens, Forney, and Guido-DiBrito (1998). You can read more in the paper I created for the National Conference on the Beginning Design Student (MADE Proceedings Chance Writing Architecture). If you reference it, please cite the source. The citation for the paper is: