Chapter Activities – Interacting with Instructors and Classes

Chapter Takeaways

  • Actively engaging in your college education is essential for success, including attending classes, participating, and communicating with your instructors.
  • Students benefit in several important ways when they participate in class and feel free to ask questions.
  • Successful participation in class and interaction with your instructor begin with fully preparing for class and working on communication skills.
  • Networking with instructors has additional benefits for your future and may lead to finding a helpful mentor.
  • Both impromptu speaking in class and more formal class presentations help develop key skills.
  • Learning to work well in a group is an element of college success.

Chapter Review

  1. List as many benefits of participating in class as you can think of.
  2. Consider the instructors in your current classes. Which instructor have you spoken with the least (in or outside of class)? Are you hesitant to speak up in this class—or to see the instructor outside of class? Why?When you have a question for this instructor about an assignment or reading, which form of communication would be most appropriate?


  3. List ways to be prepared if you have a question to ask in a large lecture class.
  4. Think ahead through to the end of your college experience. If you were to develop a mentoring relationship with one of your present instructors, what sorts of things might you talk about in the future with that instructor after the current class has ended?
  5. Review the six stages for preparing and giving a class presentation. Which stage(s) do you feel you personally need to pay special attention to next time you are assigned a presentation? What specifically can you plan to do to ensure your success in those stages in your next presentation?

Outside the Book

Choose your current class with the largest enrollment and decide to ask the instructor a question in the next class or during office hours. Prepare by carefully reviewing your class and reading notes and select a subject area that you do not feel confident you fully understand. Focus in on a specific topic and write down a question whose answer would help you better understand the topic. Go to class prepared to ask that question if it is relevant to the day’s discussion or lecture; if it is not relevant, visit your instructor during office hours and ask the question. If this is your first time talking with this instructor, remember to introduce yourself and explain your interest in the topic as you ask the question. Remember that your second goal is to begin establishing a relationship with this instructor.

Make an Action List

Attending Class

I sometimes don’t go to class because


I’ll keep myself motivated to go to every class by


Participating in Class

I tend to participate most in this class:


I need to make an effort to participate more in this class:


I need to participate more because


I will take the following steps to be ready to ask a question:


Attending Lecture Classes

I tend to do these nonproductive things if I feel bored in a lecture:


I will work on staying more actively engaged in lectures in these ways:


Talking with Instructors Outside of Class

I have not yet spoken to this instructor outside of class:


Within the next two weeks, I will stop by during office hours to talk about the following:


This instructor’s office hours are


Using E-mail

The following are my worst e-mail habits:


The following current instructors prefer student questions through e-mail:


I will follow these professional e-mail practices:


Speaking Publicly

I am nervous about giving class presentations because


I realize that the best way to overcome my anxiety about public speaking and succeed in class presentations is to