If you are like most teachers you spend the first day introducing yourself and going over the syllabus. At the end you ask if there is any questions and you get a lot of blank looks. Here is another approach: Distribute all your materials (syllabus, handouts, etc.) and allow the students time to read them. Then break the students up into groups. While in groups they will decide questions to ask you and then appoint a representative to ask their questions.
Allow the students to ask anything that might better inform them about the class or teacher, whether professional or personal.
Don't be surprised if you get more questions than usual. Students are more likely to ask questions when they know they are not asking strictly for themselves. This approach can lead to uncommon, but important questions such as: What are your qualifications to teach this course? What experience do you have outside of teaching? What do you dislike about this course? Why did you become a college teacher? What else are you interested in? (Source: Magnam, 1990)
Magnam, Robert. 147 Practical Tips for Teaching Professors. Madison: Atwood Publishing, 1990.
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