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TEACHING THE COURSE
It is important to address any skepticism among your students regarding the merits of a “soft-skills” course and misconceptions they might have about the nature of the course. Undergraduates tend to be more skeptical than practicing managers. Shy students are often intimidated by the course, whereas the more gregarious students often assume that they’ll ace this course without every cracking the book.
The key to helping students learn is to understand their learning needs as well as their learning readiness. Hence, we suggest you devote sometime during the first 1-3 class periods educating students about the general subject of management skills, providing them with a realistic preview of the course, and giving them a general management skills pre-assessment experience (What am I good at? What do I understand well? Where do I need to improve?).
Our advice is to allow as much time as your particular students need to develop both a taste and a thirst for what follows. We are confident that the materials in the Introduction chapter (plus several supplemental exercises in this section and a few extra PowerPoint slides) will help your students better understand the nature of this course and recognize its merit as an effective management development tool.
Following are a several ideas and suggestions for helping you get your course off on the right foot.
Get to know your students personally and learn their names. Ask them to fill out information cards describing their backgrounds, majors, and management topics of most interest. Have them make name tents and bring them to class each day so you and the other students can get to know one another.
Establish a supportive climate so students feel safe taking risks as they try to alter their behavior patterns. Encourage them to use the guidelines for supportive communication (Chapter 4).
Explain the difference between a...
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