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More Suggestions for Bringing Closure to Your Course

Most of us agree that the first day of class is important in terms of setting the tone and creating a positive learning environment. The last day(s) is equally important and can provide an opportunity for students to reflect on their learning. Given that an ending is not necessarily the same as closure, and that many students and teachers leave with unanswered questions or unchecked emotions, the following are suggestions for making the last day of class as memorable as the first.

  1. If students set goals at the onset of class, have them revisit these goals and share in small groups how well they accomplished their goals and how they did so.
  2. Share what you learned about teaching and/or the subject matter with your students.
  3. Provide self-addressed envelopes and ask students to write you a letter in a few months telling you one or two things they learned and have actually used.
  4. Ask students to bring to class magazines that they are willing to cut up, scissors and glue. In groups have them create a collage that depicts the main ideas covered in the course. Have each group explain their collage to the class.
  5. One or two weeks before the class ends, have each student write a "Letter to the Teacher." Provide questions for them to answer in the letter. Follow with a letter to the class telling them what you learned from their letters. Questions to ask might include:
    • How has your approach to the subject matter changed during this course?
    • How do you feel you have performed in this class?
    • What would you do differently if you had a chance to take this class over again?
    • What advice would you give a friend if they had to take this course to help him/her do well?
    • How has this course helped you develop as an emerging professional?
    • What strategies, activities, assignments, etc., best fit your learning style and have helped you learn the most?
  6. In a physiology course (or other applicable course), a week or so ahead of the last class, have groups of students randomly pick out of a hat or box, slips of paper with different organ systems. On the last day have each student perform a skit using any props representing his/her organ system and have the other students try to guess what organ system they are portraying. Or have the students make a game of "physiology pictionary."
  7. Pose a question on the first day of class, such as "What is philosophy?" Give the students approximately fifteen minutes to answer the question in writing. Provide them with an envelope and ask them to put their response in the envelope, seal it and write their name on the outside. On the last day of class, ask the same question and provide them with time to write their answer again. Hand back their original response and have them compare in groups what they had learned and how their views changed during the semester.

References

Bassendowski, S. "How to End Courses with a Bang." The Teaching Professor 9.5 (1995): 1-2. Print

Wally Cordes Teaching and Faculty Support Center. University of Arkansas. n.d. Web. 12 July 2010.

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