Explore potential strategies.
Students come to class late.
Students who come to class late have missed your articulation of the main goals of the discussion and/or the questions and issues under consideration. They may also have missed previous comments made by you and their peers. Consequently, they may be reticent to jump into the conversation given that they cannot build on previous comments or respond to others’ ideas and perspectives, for fear of taking the discussion off track or repeating something that has already been said, etc.
Explicitly articulate the value of coming to class on time and the negative consequences for both the individual student and the entire class. Explain to students that you set the context, goals, and agenda for the class during the first few minutes. Without this context, it is more difficult to enter into the discussion with meaningful contributions. Moreover, coming in late can both break others’ concentration and interrupt the flow of conversation.
For examples, some faculty consider lateness equivalent to an absence in terms of the participation grade; others ask students to enter quietly and sit in the back if they must come late.
Administer a quiz at the beginning of class to encourage students to come on time. Anyone who enters after you distribute the quiz is ineligible to participate.
Display the goals, questions or issues for discussion and use them as mileposts to help all students seen where you have been and where you are going in the discussion. This roadmap can help to orient not only students who come late but also students who are distracted at some point in the discussion so that they can then be engaged or reengaged.
This site supplements our 1-on-1 teaching consultations.
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