2 Build relationships with instructors

Learning Objectives

By the time you finish this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Describe instructor-student relationships in the Canadian university context
  • Plan to use instructor office hours to support your learning

At KPU, you will be in small classes where you are able to develop a relationship with your instructors. Often, students find it intimidating to relate to their instructors.  This may be especially true when you are unsure of the right way to communicate with instructors in a Canadian university context.

Though no two instructors are the same, most instructors will have the following expectations:

  • Instructors expect university students to be responsible for their learning. This means that students are expected to be prepared for each class, and to take responsibility for completing coursework and assignments on time.  Class preparation may include tasks like completing assigned readings and pre-class quizzes.  Your course presentation and/or Moodle site may list the tasks you are expected to complete before attending each week’s class.
  • Instructors expect university students to take initiative and they want to help their students be successful. This means that most instructors want their students to come and talk to them when they need extra help – or just to get to know the instructor better.

Using Instructor Office Hours Effectively

Instructors hold office hours each week. This is the time that they set aside for students to come and talk to them.  These office hours are listed on the course presentation.  In office hours, you may wish to:

    • Ask a question about the course presentation or the course assignments.
    • Ask a question about something that was not clear to you in class time.
    • Ask for tips on how you can be successful in the course.
    • Ask other questions about the subject area, even if they are not related directly to the course.

If you are not able to attend office hours (perhaps because you have another class scheduled at that time), you can e-mail the instructor to schedule an alternative time to meet.   Your instructors want to help you succeed, and they appreciate when students come to meet with them.

Take time to attend office hours early in the course and get to know your instructor.  The more your instructor knows you, the better they are able to support you in the course.  Instructors that you know well are often able to provide references for you, and to help you connect to other academic, volunteer, and professional opportunities.


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Preparing for the Canadian Classroom Copyright © 2020 by Kwantlen Polytechnic University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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