(#91) Success Strategies for the Classroom—and the Business World

Every so often we all can find wisdom in reminders of past lessons. Think of the following checklist as providing basic strategies that will move you toward a more active and successful life in school—and beyond.

As a professor, I am responsible for creating well-thought out lessons that engage and challenge my students. The students have the responsibility to be active participants in the classroom.  Jackson Browne sings in one of his songs about the power of his audiences:

People you’ve got the power over what we do You can sit there and wait Or you can pull us through Come along, sing the song You know you can’t go wrong… (“The Load Out/Stay”)

For me that rings true.  This semester I have five classes that have energy. The collective personalities of each class runs high with enthusiasm and curiosity. The students (most of them) show excitement for the material and their classmates. In short, they “can pull us through” to great heights.  I would like to think I have something to do with that energy. I do know that occasionally I get one of those classes in which the students do “sit there and wait.” And, I guess, I have something to do with that as well. I have commented elsewhere on this blog about effective teaching. (See: Lessons from “Larry Crowne”, Teaching: Creating An Experience, Education and Politics: Problems or Solutions?, What Do Effective Teachers Do?, and The Student Perspective: What Do Effective Teachers Do?)  For this week’s post, though, I will focus on the other side of the room—the student side.  AND I will make a connection outside of the classroom—to the business world.

Here are success strategies that pertain to the business world as much as they do to our classrooms.  Learn them. Internalize them.  Grow with them. (Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff, 3rd edition, Piscitelli, 154-155)

I like to tell my students that not only do you need to be there in class, you need to be there in class. That is, your attention, your thoughts, and your head, need to be focused on the class lesson. The student’s physical presence is important as it allows you to hear explanations, ask questions, and add to the class discussions. Every so often we all can find wisdom in reminders of past lessons. Think of the following checklist as providing basic strategies that will move you toward a more active and successful life in school—and beyond.

Video recommendation for the week:

1.   Do you show up? Pretty basic, isn’t it? It is difficult to meet instructor expectations if you are sitting in the student lounge during class time or asleep in your bed. How do you know what your boss or client wants or expects if you don’t attend the latest strategy briefing.

2.   Do you bring all you need? This is not the time to be without paper, pen, textbook, laptop, quarterly report, or any other tool that may help you with your studies.  

3.   Do you arrive on time? Again, pretty basic!  Punctuality is important. Many instructors orchestrate each moment of class.

4.   Do you sit where you will benefit the most? To minimize distractions, you may wish to sit close to where the instructor or speaker is standing. Unless you have been given explicit permission to access your social graph, this is not the time to text message and, for goodness sake, don’t put your head down for a quick nap. (The snoring will annoy the person next to you.)

5.   Do you carry your passion with you? Be excited! Practice your active listening skills. Listen intently; ask questions; be involved.

6.  Do you remain actively engaged? The class period and business meetings generally have a recognized starting and ending time. Think of a movie. If you come in late or leave early you will miss critical scenes that will hinder your understanding of the entire film.

 7.   Do you review your notes as soon as possible? If you have the time, complete this review before you leave the room. Remain in your seat for a few moments and quickly determine whether you have any questions or confusion about the day’s material. Or find a quiet place as soon as possible to complete your review.”

  8.  Do you act with civility?   Finally, remind yourself about civility. Develop an appropriate civil relationship with professors, supervisors, colleagues. This includes polite behavior in class (turn off the cell phone; listen to the person speaking. REALLY listen!)  Communicate and connect with your classmates, professors, supervisors, and co-workers.

For more on classroom success strategies, see my book Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? 3rd edition (Pearson Education). Please visit my website (www.stevepiscitelli.com), contact me at steve@stevepiscitelli.com, or visit Pearson EducationAmazon and Barnes and Noble.

Enjoy your week—and H.T.R.B. as needed!

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. Please pass it (and any of the archived posts on this site) along to friends and colleagues. You can also follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. If you get a chance, visit my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/stevepiscitelli) and click on the “LIKE” button. Also, if you have suggestions for future posts, leave a comment. Have a wonderful week!

© 2012. Steve Piscitelli and Steve Piscitelli’s Blog.

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5 Responses to (#91) Success Strategies for the Classroom—and the Business World

  1. Kristin Mackert says:

    I will be sharing this with my own students!


  2. Pingback: (#136) A Blogger’s Retrospective: 2012 in Review « Steve Piscitelli's Blog

  3. With havin so much written content do you ever run into any
    issues of plagorism or copyright infringement?
    My site has a lot of unique content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my agreement. Do you know any solutions to help prevent content from being ripped off? I’d certainly appreciate it.


    • Hi. I place a (c) notice on my material. Other than that, I depend on the good graces and integrity of people to cite me if they use my work. Have you attempted contacting the sites that use your material? On a positive note, people must think what you produce is valuable. I do understand your concern: You want to be recognized and/or compensated for your work.


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