Remedies to this issue are now being written about from various perspectives; one excellent example is the book, "Become a Student-ready College: A New Culture of Leadership for Student Success" which addresses various aspects of this dilemma, and the chapter "Becoming Whole-Person Educators" is especially pertinent. But for those faculty who don't have the luxury of time or money to purchase and read largely on this topic - or any other - are simply looking for something that will:
Unfortunately, I fear there will not be a magical week zero course that will prepare the incredibly wide range of students walking into our real or virtual classrooms, although I am one of many who is at least half-tackling the concept. And we have learned already that admissions testing has very little to do with predicting student success, in spite of some faculty hopes that we can just admit the "ready" students. But as I explore this issue, I am stumbling upon some ways that faculty can address this issue on their own.
Without too much fuss.
One do-able step faculty can take is to utilize the concept of giving "Feedforward" - a pathway to success for their specific subject. I recently heard this term used by Dr. Jean Mandernach in her presentation, "10 Tips for more Efficient and Effective Online Teaching" at the fantastic virtual conference, "Transforming the Teaching and Learning Environment" offered by the University of Idaho.
In a nutshell, Feedforward turns Feedback on its head. Her focus was the online environment, but I would assert that this could be used for all modalities, with an intentional focus on the students in your own area who are struggling. Do you find yourself sighing with despair quarter after quarter, with students making the same kinds of mistakes? Then change the way you are presenting your material by inserting a Feedforward aspect to your course. Instead of spending so much time telling students what they did wrong afterwards, tell them how to do it right before they do an assignment. Give them tools for success before they start. (We may think we already do this. We may need to do it more.) This takes some time shifts (you have to allow some space in your course for this to happen) but the time and frustration you ultimately eliminate will be more than made up for.
Feedforward ideas: Show examples of what you are looking for. Walk students through rubrics, and explain what they mean. Give them some links to online tools to help them improve their English/writing/reading skills. Offer multi-lingual vocabulary lists or important concepts, easily put together at sites such as https://quizlet.com. Start with an example of a past exemplary student work, or have past students give advice on how to succeed. Building curriculum with the Feedforward concept in mind can help catch those struggling students in myriad ways.
What are your thoughts? How might you incorporate this concept?