Actually, professors can sometimes feel intimidated by student veterans on campus. These students can present themselves as being very confident and at times through their posture and loud voice may even seem aggressive. In fact, this is the result of military training and the opposite is often true. Student veterans often feel that they don’t “fit in” on campus and may have reservations about this new stage in their lives. Hearing loss, or a learning or acquired disability, can add to feeling uneasy in the classroom and to concerns of how they are perceived by their peers and instructors.If student veterans do not actively participate as much as other students, it does not mean that they are disengaged. They might instead be feeling intimidated.
Try not to “call out” or “single out” student veterans, but find ways to incorporate their knowledge and skill-set into the classroom dynamics.
Points to Consider
- Not all service members may have deployed or seen combat, but they are still transition from one cultural group to another. Military culture to civilian culture to higher education culture.
- Our campuses are their own communities. Our campuses have their own hierarchies. Their own schedules. Their own social structures and climates. Military service members are adjusting not only to the learning environment, but the campus culture as a whole.
- The adjustment to classroom structure and preparation can be a new experience or one that they have not had for a long time. Therefore, service members may feel intimidated by the students who are familiar with the classroom structure.
Online learning can be intimidating
- Many student veterans do not take online courses as they are not typically covered the same under the GI Bill as in-person or brick-and-mortar courses
- In response to COVID-19 the Department of Veterans Affairs made special arrangements to account for the virtual campus experience across the nation
- Student veterans may self-accommodate in the classroom for various disabilities but be unsure on how to self-accommodate online
Concern for digital literacy
- Student veterans may be learning both the course content as well as how to navigate online learning platforms and portals
- Student veterans may feel intimidated to ask questions regarding digital literacy