Attendance and Classroom Community

Attendance and Classroom Community

Welcome to Heritage University’s
Institute for Student Identity and Success and our research-based Breakthrough
Strategies. I really hope you enjoy the insight this
faculty member has in how to help first-generation students
be really successful. First-generation students come to campus holding on to a variety of roles — roles
as parents, roles as daughters, as sons, and now
they’re coming to campus with the role of being a student, and sometimes they don’t always realize
the negative impacts that skipping a class or not coming to
campus has on their grades, has on their attendance score. So my
challenge is to motivate my students to come to class and participate fully in the
class. My breakthrough strategy for getting my
students to come to class and participate is pointing
out at the beginning of the term that
they’re coming and participating in a community of learners. Each person who signed up for this class
shares responsibility for maintaining this community. Skipping class hurts you but also hurts
the entire community. So right off the bat I reinforce my students’ identity as a member of a community. My strategy
also involves asking the students to look around the room and realize that each one of them will
be with this special group of people two to three times per week for 15 weeks. If one or several students are missing
at a session, the class is incomplete. Maybe the person missing is the one who had asked the ideal question to help you understand the
idea being taught, and now that help is not there. I tell the
students that you have a responsibility for helping to keep your fellow students
motivated and involved. When others are missing, it makes you
feel like, “Why did I bother coming to class?” They’re all jointly responsible for the
spirit, the commitment, and the learning environment of this
class. My breakthrough strategy is a powerful
initiator the helps first-gen students bond with their college
community. This strategy allows my students to better understand their role
as a vital member of the class. Community responsibility is usually a
strong motivator for first-gen students and this strategy substantially
increases their efforts to attend every single class. As they bond with their
class community, they develop a new identity as a
committed college student. This puts them on the road to a level
of engagement necessary for college success, and that’s something that we all

2 thoughts on “Attendance and Classroom Community

  1. I appreciated how Elese noted that we all have other roles in life other than our student life and also how she added that we are all part of the collective and our attendance and participation matters. Great video!

  2. I am a curriculum writer at Montana college and I love your videos. This one on attendance and community is so very important. I have shared the links with the team I work with and offered to help them make their own videos for our students, too. Thank you for being the leader in this initiative.

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