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Successful Beginnings for College Teaching: Engaging Your Students from the First Day

Rated 4.45 out of 5 based on 11 customer ratings
(11 customer reviews)

$25.00

Whether you’re a full-time professor, an adjunct instructor, or a graduate teaching assistant, Successful Beginnings for College Teaching will help you engage your students — particularly if you’re new to the field — so that they “stick around” (physically and psychologically!) and gain the most they can from your course.

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Description

by Angela Provitera McGlynn
Atwood Publishing, 2001
160 pages. Paperback.

 

Laying the groundwork for a successful semester starts with the first day of class. Author Angela Provitera McGlynn tells that the first day is not the day to pass out a syllabus and let everyone go. Rather, it’s the day to set the context for the rest of the semester.

 

The author stresses the need for developing an atmosphere of respect for diversity while simultaneously providing a safe and exciting place to explore differences.

 

Included are a whole variety of ice breakers and other exercises to keep students engaged and interacting. In addition, such vital issues as classroom dynamics, motivating students, and dealing with incivility are addressed with suggestions for promoting positive interactions.

 

Readers say….
Beneficial for new and seasoned professors alike
Successful Beginnings is divided into seven chapters, the first six of which focus on one of the following themes: course organization, first-day “icebreakers” to help start the semester well, building a good rapport with students throughout the semester, encouraging student participation and interaction, dealing with misbehavior in the classroom, and keeping students motivated through the mid and end-of-semester “blahs.” The final chapter summarizes the main points of each prior chapter. Given the variety of subjects and classroom dynamics that professors work with, McGlynn does an admirable job of offering a variety of suggestions on any given topic….Successful Beginnings for College Teaching offers useful suggestions on a variety of relevant topics. As such, it makes a good primer for young professors and a good refresher (or maybe even a renovator) for “old pros.”—J. Wisdom

 

Successful Beginnings means better learning
I’m sorry that this book wasn’t available when I first started teaching. This book is such a valuable resource and guide to making all the right moves in preparing for and meeting students for the first time. Faculty in colleges are often isolated, and practical issues are rarely discussed, so “Successful Beginnings” goes a long way to rectify that situation. There is such a nice balance between theory and practical suggestions that experienced faculty will also find this book immediately helpful. Most importantly, Professor McGlynn takes readers beyond the beginnings of courses to proven methods of effective classroom teaching and course management. She has a wonderful section on concluding courses in meaningful ways, and I plan to use some of her techniques myself at the end of this semester.

If I were an administrator at a college, I would make sure that I got this book into the hands of every new faculty member, full-time or adjunct!—Russell T. Warne

To place an order using a Purchase Order, call 734-930-6854, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday (EST). Fax Purchase Orders to 734-665-9001.

11 reviews for Successful Beginnings for College Teaching: Engaging Your Students from the First Day

  1. Rated 4 out of 5

    KellyMichaels

    Really useful book for both new and not so new part-timers who teach in just about any subject area. I bought it on Amazon, but should have come here since this site offers free shipping and discounts to faculty who buy books directly.

  2. Rated 4 out of 5

    Career Changer

    Great info for first time college instructor.

    Great advice on connecting with students and classroom manage.

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    Irina

    Highly recommend this book

    Highly recommend this book not only for beginners but for experienced teachers too. Easy to read, lots of tips and suggestions. Just love it!

  4. Rated 4 out of 5

    Monique

    Read this for my doctoral studies and plan to recommend to adjunct faculty.

  5. Rated 5 out of 5

    countryliving

    Fab

    Inspirational, full of great ideas. A seasoned instructor shares nuggets of wisdom I’m pleased to learn. If you’re a newbie adjunct like me, I highly recommend.

  6. Rated 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    McGlynn did a nice job organizing and writing this book on how to help your students get the most out of your college course. Liked it and would recommend it to other new (as well as seasoned) teachers!

  7. Rated 5 out of 5

    Deeno

    I am finding this book very useful as a new instructor! Easy to read and useable info. Author seems very knowledgeable.

  8. Rated 4 out of 5

    Russell T. Warne

    Useful one-stop shop for preparing for that first week

    Angela Provitera McGlynn’s book “Successful Beginnings for College Teaching: Engaging Your Students from the First Day” is a useful resource for any question that a college professor or instructor could have about the first week of class. Provitera McGlynn has pulled together tips and research from many sources in order to provide the reader with the information they need to create a safe space for the learner and a positive work environment for the instructor. She has sections on diversity, the “impostor’s syndrome,” classroom management, ice breakers, how to conduct class discussions, dealing with incivility, promoting study skills, receiving feedback, and even how to finish the semester strong! In addition to providing lots of information, it’s all presented in a convenient, easy-to-read format that was written with the busy academic in mind.

    The only drawback to this book is that some of the ideas are not substantiated with cited research, although when this is the case it likely wouldn’t be hard to find a citation backing up the suggestion. I’m also a little disappointed with how hurriedly some topics were treated (e.g., some types of incivility get just a page), but in a slim paperback that sort of thing is to be expected. Certainly, both of these drawbacks are minor compared to all the benefits that the book offers.

  9. Rated 5 out of 5

    Natalie P. Smoley

    Took advice from the book and it worked

    Last night I taught my first-ever college class and used two of the several techniques from the book. Particularly, I used one of the name games to remember the students names, and after just one class I have every name committed to memory. I also used one of the student bonding excercies — the “things in common” game — and it actually worked too well. The class went from being distant to very wound-up, but it was all good.

  10. Rated 4 out of 5

    J. Wisdom

    Beneficial for new and seasoned professors alike

    Successful Beginnings is divided into seven chapters, the first six of which focus on one of the following themes: course organization, first-day “icebreakers” to help start the semester well, building a good rapport with students throughout the semester, encouraging student participation and interaction, dealing with misbehavior in the classroom, and keeping students motivated through the mid and end-of-semester “blahs”. The final chapter summarizes the main points of each prior chapter. Given the variety of subjects and classroom dynamics that professors work with, McGlynn does an admirable job of offering a variety of suggestions on any given topic. That way, even if certain suggestions aren’t very applicable to a given professor’s situation, others are more likely to be. My guess is that chapters one and four will be most beneficial to all teachers regardless of their subject matter or classroom size.

    Now, for a few of the shortcomings. First, although there is likely some merit to the section, “The Chilly Classroom Climate” in chapter three, I think she gets a bit too politically correct here. For better or worse, students and professors alike will always have their biases which will affect the learning environment. Fortunately, as McGlynn herself notes, the suggestions she gives are more about enhancing the learning environment for all students than they are about accommodating “outsider” groups. Also, some of the “get to know you” exercises in chapter two strike me as a bit goofy for certain classes. For example, if you’re teaching a calculus or astronomy class, does it really matter that you find out who in the class likes chocolate, is Jewish, has a twin, was born outside the U.S., etc? Probably not. However, if one is teaching a sociology or social psychology class, this might be helpful. In short, the generality of the book is at the same time one of its main strengths and one of its (rather excusable) weaknesses.

    Successful Beginnings for College Teaching is by no means the last word on how to be a good teacher, but I doubt the author ever intended it to be. On the other hand, it offers useful suggestions on a variety of relevant topics. As such, it makes a good primer for young professors and a good refresher (or maybe even a renovator) for “old pros”.

  11. Rated 5 out of 5

    Howard Aldrich

    Not just for beginnings, but for the middle & end, too!

    I was amazed at how much good advice McGlynn packed into such a short book! I read it in one sitting, and constantly found myself saying, “yes, that’s right,” or “ok, I’ll try that.” She not only describes techniques that work for creating a more active learning environment in the classroom, but also (implicitly) explains why they work. To be sure, this is not an “academic book” in the sense of being top heavy with citations and references.

    Instead, it is a useful book, written in a very personal, easy-going style. I felt as if I were having a conversation with her, rather than being lectured to. And, of course, that’s the kind of classroom she’s helping you create, if you follow her advice.

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