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Ask them periodically if things are getting through. Ask if your teaching to their thinking is causing them to think more.
Finally, ask them regularly if learning is occurring.
Too often we, as profs, hope that our students share the same passion and interest about our discipline as we do.
Too often we hope they will endlessly read about our discipline.
But, usually students in our courses are more like shoppers than customers dedicated to our brand. They want to know what originally fascinated us about the discipline. And they want to be taught to think about the subject we are teaching.
But they have to be taught to think about the subject and the discipline in their way, not our way.
And that’s why we have to learn how they think.