As we have said in previous tips, students have become increasingly consumer-minded
and sensitive to the value that their coursework is adding to their lives.
It is critical therefore to display classroom management practices that
display our sensitivity to their needs, while ensuring the integrity of
our teaching. The following suggestions should enable you to do both:
- Begin each class meeting, as well as sessions following a break,
on time. Delaying starting or re-starting the class simply invites
more students to be late. Those who return late to a class already
in session typically "get the message" the first
- Develop and use an agenda for each class meeting. In it identify
the approximate time each item should require, and stick to it. Some
effective instructors even write their agenda on the chalk or marker
board prior to class, using it as an "advance organizer" and easy
rationale for moving past unproductive time wasters.
- If you are inhibited in your effort to move to the next agenda
time by prolonged, unproductive discussions, simply invite the students
involved to see you, or each other, during break or at the end of
- Energize your class throughout each meeting with questions - both
rhetorical and didactic, which foster refocusing on your agenda items
of greatest concern. You might also integrate current news items,
encouraging students' mental connections between sometimes "dry theory"
and everyday life.
- Resist the temptation when students appear especially fatigued
to dismiss the class early. Invariably you will have students who
had to sacrifice in order to attend class and such actions frustrate
them and foster a perception of their not getting their money's worth.
Giving in to requests to dismiss early makes it more difficult to
resist in the future, further aggravating the strong, sacrificing
students, as well as those who badly need all of the time on the learning
task they can get.
- Consider blocking out a period of time occasionally to provide
one-on-one tutoring to individual students. This might be accomplished
while remaining students are engaged in a cooperative learning or
some other more individualized activity.
- Before dismissing each class meeting, be sure to summarize and
confirm the value of class activities, and provide an overview for
the following meeting that provides an "advance organizer" to foster
their mental preparation.
Managing class time effectively is a critical indicator of the professor's
seasoned professionalism and dedication to the success of each student.
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