Every year, millions of us set New Year’s resolutions for our personal lives. From health to social goals, it’s great to have a fresh opportunity to improve ourselves in the new year. So why not carry these goal-setting habits over to your work? We asked instructors to rate some of the top New School Year resolutions they’ll be working on this year. Learn how to achieve your goals for the new school year. New School Year resolutions

When asked to select their top goal, 39% of instructors revealed that their #1 resolution for the 2015 school year will be to improve student engagement.

After this, 19% aim to become better communicators, 18% want to try a new activity or teaching strategy, 12% want to use a new tech tool, and 12% plan to work on professional development.

#1 Goal for 2015: Improve student engagement

Improving student engagement is one resolution that many instructors never stop working on. But what engages students? We surveyed thousands of students asking, “What gets you most excited about a course?” The most common answer, at 52% of students, revealed that a course must be relevant to the student’s goals in order for it to be most exciting.

Learning more about your students’ goals — be they personal, academic, or long-term career goals — will help you relate course material to their interests and needs. If that may not be feasible, remember to take time to explain the importance of the lesson. Explain how students can relate the material or the assignment to their personal lives, their future careers, or their subsequent coursework.

As you begin your semester, you may want to let students know when it is okay for them to give feedback on the course structure. Perhaps in your next office hours, you’ll discover that many of your students are engaged by in-class group work, weekend review sessions, or class trips to the library for research.

For more insight on what students want out of their course material, visit our post, “How to Improve Student Engagement in the Classroom.”

More opportunities for improvement

Is your top goal becoming a better communicator, trying a new teaching strategy, using a new tech tool, or working on professional development? Visit our recent post, “New Year’s Resolutions for Educators’ Professional Development” for tips on these other leading resolutions.

All of the above are terrific ideas for New School Year’s resolutions. They’ll just take a little dedication and hard work — and there’s no time like the present to begin!

How will you resolve to improve in the new year? Share your thoughts below!