How Professors View Students – New Survey

A new survey, by The Chronicle of Higher Education, surveyed nearly 1000 faculty members whose workload includes writing grants, running labs, and serving on the vital committees that maintain their departments and institutions.

Visual and Performing Arts faculty were found to be the most satisfied with the Teaching Students aspect of their work. at 98% compared to those teaching Humanities – 87.4%

Adjuncts/Instructors were almost 6% happier with their student/teacher relationships than tenured Professors. And faculty in Private Institutions enjoy their teaching roles a full 5% more than Public Institutions.

adjunct teacher working with students on a play
Adjunct Teacher Working on a Play with Students

The survey addressed the following topics:

I’m satisfied with teaching students

My job is respected by my students

My teaching benefits students and their lives

Today’s students are more engaged than students of years past

Teaching today’s students is more fulfilling than teaching students of years past

Today’s students are harder to teach than students of years past

Student Engagement

Overall, faculty members agree that engaging students in class is trickier than ever before. Professors age 70 and up are the most satisfied with the engagement levels of the current generation, along with untenured professors and those in education. The least optimistic outlook on student engagement comes from faculty members in the sciences.

You can read the full survey results on the Chronicle of Higher Education

Course leaders of the Humanities – modern languages, literature, philosophy, history, human geography, law, politics, religion, and art, may want to consider introducing more Drama in their studies to increase student engagement and make learning more relevant and real to students and perhaps more enjoyable for themselves.

The link between the Performing arts and academic success in a number of fields including literature, TESOL, science, law and other subjects is well-documented.

In his 2007 article “Guardians of the past: Using drama to assess learning in American history” Charles F. Howlett wrote:

I invited attorneys and judges to speak to my classes about how the law works and how, as a society, we govern ourselves.(1) Putting into practice what the visitors had discussed, however, was the real challenge to the assessment process. I found the solution in the production of classroom plays. Writing and performing plays based on case law became the culminating reflection to this exercise.

Guardians of the past: Using drama to assess learning in American history

Participatory theatre and Reader’s Theatre are ideal vehicles for creating engagement and understanding across many subjects for students of all ages, and no less in Colleges and Universities. Rather than being a subject purely in its own right, Drama is a learning environment where students can experience an emotional and imaginative element of any subject in the curriculum.

Learning About History Through Drama

Blue Moon Plays publishes plays suitable to support learning in History and many other subjects. The scripts are ideal for Readers Theatre, in High School, College and University.

Nat Turner’s Last Struggle: Finding His Way Home is an intense play for studies in civil rights, slavery and black history

Distant Survivors – a poetic drama about the Holocaust is a poignant and sensitive adaptation of William Heyen’s poetry is an ideal companion text to the study of Holocaust History and Literature

A Mirror in Time
A Mirror in Time: History in First Person–Reflections on Love, Relationships & Marriage by Doris Gwaltney. presents a series of fifteen  fictional monologues by historical figures.

Behind Closed Doors
The monologues and dialogues in “Behind Closed Doors” are gripping fictional insights into the psyches of historical married couples.

Award-winning full-length drama for 8-10 actors, SNIPER is very loosely based upon the USA’s first school shooting in 1975.

Oregon Fever
In this one-act dramatic play, Joshua Blanchard is getting ready to leave Kansas to head west on the Oregon Trail in l835.

An Evening with Joyce’s Women
A trilogy of one-act plays, based on Dubliners by James Joyce. They form a naturalistic depiction of the lives of three middle-class women in and around Dublin in the early years of the 20th century.

University and college teachers wishing to incorporate more drama work into their teaching can find more useful links and resources here.

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