Bringing Your Course to an Effective Conclusion
As the term enters its last few weeks, it is common for some students to demonstrate signs of fatigue and a loss of momentum. Telltale signs might include:
Remembering that today's students are often working too many hours and trying to maintain balance in other aspects of their lives, try to practice Stephen Covey's "Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood." The key to overcoming barriers to students' acceptable completion of this course is proactive, helpful communications. Talk with individual students - especially those, whose loss of momentum has been most dramatic, and to the class as a whole, to develop a grounded perspective. At this point in the term, students frequently perceive doom in not only yours, but other courses they are taking. Consider making slight adjustments in assignments that will be perceived as demonstrating understanding for students' welfare, without markedly lowering your standards. Often, students will perceive even a slight relaxation of high standards as a huge stress reducer.
In addition, examine your plans for the remaining few class meetings. Consider modifying activities to induce added energy into each by:
We can probably all recall a time when we "hit the wall" -- physically, intellectually, and/or emotionally. And we can also probably recall a coach, mentor, or teacher who helped us get over that overwhelming obstacle. Becoming that kind of supporting person for your students during the last class meetings will enable you to have a long-term impact on their academic and career success.