Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Students come to class lateStep 2: Identify Reasons

Identify possible reasons for the problem you have selected.
To find the most effective strategies, select the reason that best describes your situation, keeping in mind there may be multiple relevant reasons.

Students come to class late.

When students come to class late, it can disrupt the flow of a lecture or discussion, distract other students, impede learning, and generally erode class morale. Moreover, if left unchecked, lateness can become chronic and spread throughout the class. Because there are a number of possible reasons students arrive to class late, considering which causes are at the root of the problem can help guide instructors to appropriate responses and strategies. Understanding the reasons, however, does not require tolerating the behavior.

Students don’t take responsibility for themselves.

Students’ expectations are out of line with the instructor’s.

Students don’t recognize how their lateness affects others.

Students don’t perceive the beginning of class as important.

There is no consequence to being late.

Students are trying to challenge the instructor’s authority.

Students are experiencing emotional or psychological problems.

Students have physical or logistical reasons for coming late.

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