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Having students show up for every class...

Sometimes I feel students generally feel very well about the course; nevertheless, there are ocassions where any given class has interesting lessons, and some that are not as appealing. In the past I have certain students that despite having this positive attitude of enjoying the course, ask me what objective will be covered in the next meeting... I would say 4 out of 5 times the student takes the topic into consideration and may decide not to show up for the next meeting (especially if the current class session maybe has been exhausting.) Often I may believe this is because the student may presume that the upcoming lesson is of questionable importance or maybe finds it better to be read about it and skip the lecture.

What might be a good way for motivating students to willingly attend class, assuming that not every class day is as exciting? (I CAN make them show up if I were to enforce evaluations every meeting and have strict attendance policies... yet I would like the students to actually want to come to class.)

Any feedback or suggestions on this will be of great value! :-)

Hi Carlos,
You ask a very hard question. Keeping students wanting to come to class each time is difficult due to as you say the variety of topics and presentation modes that will be used a various times. I have found that I can keep the students coming by using different presentation and group activity formats. I will end a class with the students working in groups to solve a problem or work on a project and then have the report out the beginning of the next class. I find that they want to come to class so they can share what they did in their group.
As I teach students in need of developing soft skills(job ready skills)I enforce attendance and being on time. As I am preparing them to earn a living in a new career area I want them to be the best professionals that they can be. By being strong on the soft skills I know they be successful since they will have the specific skills needed for success. My students abide by the attendance policy with no complaints or at least to me or in class.
I work very hard to peak the students' interest in the next class by introducing some form of teaser or challenge to them. That way they want to come back to learn the answer to the teaser or challenge.
Also, I work hard on my presentations, to engage the students in the learning process. All these components have to blend together in order to have a successful class.

Before class is dismissed I remind the students the excited of next day class. For example, “tomorrow we're going to do some shortcuts for today's exercise”.

Hi Daniel,
Good idea about getting them to want to be back the next day. How do you feel that this approach is working. Do you feel that the students do look forward to learning the next day's topic?

Yes, that method has worked with my students because I usually finish the practical (hands on) next day. For instance, two days ago I was teaching my students how to partition a hard disk drive. The first part of the project was to create one partition to that storage device and the second part of the project was to create two partitions. Guess what?
We did the second part next day. They were very excited with that project and they all show up on time the next day.

Hi Daniel,
Great job and great example of how your approach works.

I usually review the students project on that given day and let them know how well they have done. I explain what steps they need to complete the project the next day and that usually gives them an incentive to show up to class the next day. If their project has been completed, I let them know what type of new project they will be starting to work on the next day and this usually makes them want to come back.

Hi Jorge,
I commend you for your immediate feedback policy. Students need to know ASAP what kind of grade or some form of feedback on their efforts. This reduces stress and helps keep them engaged in the class.

What works for me is to let the students know that we are all struggling to succeed-including the instructors. I try to create an inviting environment for my students and constantly reassure them of their success as they try to learn the difficult subject matters.

Hi Ivan,
What are some of the key components of creating an inviting environment that you have found to be successful?

In my opinion, this is the heart of retention. Creating the energized environment by demonstrating excitement and creating anticipation, while key, is not always easy to do.
Understanding your students will to determine what activities or presentation methods to use. Skits, projects with presentations, competitive reports, role playing... all can be employed but the task is to employ them in the most effective manner. To do that one must identify the class characteristics, plan your delivery and soliciting feedback to evaluate the effectiveness of the plan.
Keeping activities and presentations as fresh and energized as much as possible is the challenge. But in keeping the classes interesting, with student participation and a lively environment will help entice students to look forward to coming back to class.

Hi Michael,
Thank you for your comments. Based upon your forum response I would think that your students really enjoy your classes. I can only add to your comments the words, "Keep Up The Good Work!". The things you mentioned are what I like to do in my classes and as a result I have full enrollments, excited students, and great satisfaction personally.

If a student askes about the next days lesson I try to make it sound as exciting as possible and be real enthusiastic about it.

Hi Jacob,
Well said. It is a fact that if you aren't excited about what is going to happen the next day, it is for sure that the students won't be.
Excitement is contagious.

I have tried to make sure my lesson plan for that day includes a skill that needs to be checked off on that day. If the student needs to make it up it must be after class hours.I also let all students know that they are an important part of the whole class and they are missed.


Hi Paddy,
Good idea. This helps to cement in the mind of students that progress has been made since they get to check off a skill that they have acquired.

I have what you might call the "hit and miss students." Those students who show up for an entire week and participate in the class and then disappear for a few weeks at a time. By the time they've decided to make an appearance, some of their classmates are so much further ahead of them. They look to me for a magic answer as to why they have not progressed or fall into a slump. And even though I try to focus on the positive of their achievements and try to make suggestions for solutions, a lot of times I cannot always get through. It's as if their minds are already made up.

Tell me something that I can bring to them to keep them wanting to come back even if they've had a slight setback.


I do the same I motivate them for the next day before they leave.

Hi Philippe,
The idea of motivating students is to get them to look forward to the next day's lesson. You are doing that by helping them to see what is going to come next.

I feel it is valuable for the students to attend all classes, if they begin to fall behind, they may not catch back up with the rest of the class, then they will lose their motivation and interest in the class

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