Best Practices: Encouraging On-Time Behavior

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Encouraging On-Time Behavior

In the multi-cultural classroom it is sometimes difficult to get the students to understand the Western ethic of arriving on-time (or early) and being ready to work.  After the initial micro-lecture about the importance being on time in American universities I do the following things:

  • I attempt to arrive at least five minutes before class begins to be ready to teach a soon as the class starts.

 

  • Students are engaged in meaningful, individual work for the first 10 minutes of class. Anyone arriving after the hour faces a disadvantage in completing the assignment by ten after the hour, when papers are collected.

 

  • Sometimes an advantage is given to early students, such as listening to a lecture again.

 

  • Each student signs in with the exact time of arrival (hour:minute). This time data is calculated into a % of class time present.  (Absences do not count against the percentage because they can lower the class grade.) The percent is the basis of the Participation grade.  100% – 105% is good.  Above 105% is very good, and above 110% is excellent.  95% – 100% is satisfactory.  Below 95% is unsatisfactory.  In a 50-minute class, 95% means he arrives about two or three minutes late every day.  This means that the student misses more than 3 whole days of instruction by the end of the semester.

The time-sign-in sheet has been the biggest motivator for students.  They compete just to have a higher percent!  I first used this technique while teaching teachers in Qatar.  It worked so well there that I decided to try it with our CELCIS classes that are currently predominately Arab students.

This time-sign-in sheet has had an even better effect here than in Qatar.

Sample sign-in sheet:

`# Name Mon. Tues. Wed. Thurs. Fri. cum.attend. Cum.Absence
1 Fahad A. Time __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ 104%
Initial
2 Eissa A. Time __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ 107.2%
Initial
3 Manal A. Time __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ 120%
Initial
4 Wejdan A. Time __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ 99.5% -1
Initial
5 Raed A. Time __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ 97.5% -1
Initial
6 Almujtaba A. Time __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ 124.8%
Initial
7 Hanan A. Time __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ 114% -1
Initial
8 Ohud A. Time __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ 120%
Initial
9 Zheyin C. Time __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ 110.8%
Initial
10 Sahar K. Time __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ 124.4
Initial
11 Ali Q. Time __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ 121.6%
Initial
12 Yuhui Z. Time __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ 120.4%
Initial
13 Abdullah A. Time __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ __:___ 102.5% -1
Initial

Class average:  112.8% attendance.   There was no deduction for absences since grades were lowered automatically after a certain number of absences.

This means students’ average arrival prior to this week was about six minutes early for class!

 

Sample excel worksheet for one week:

Week of 15 Sept 2014 cum.abs. 8:45 65
# name M T W R F Av. % 8:46 64
1 Fahad 55* 50 53 49 53 51.25 102.5 8:47 63
2 Eissa 55 60 52 48 53 53.6 107.2 8:48 62
3 Manal 55 75 55 55 60 60 120 8:49 61
4 Wejdan 49 51 48 51 49.75 99.5 1 8:50 60
5 Raed 47 48 48 52 48.75 97.5 1 8:51 59
6 Almujtaba 60 65 64 61 62 62.4 124.8 8:52 58
7 Hanan 61 54 57 56 57 57 114 1 8:53 57
8 Ohud 51 65 69 65 50 60 120 8:54 56
9 Zheyin 56 55 55 54 57 55.4 110.8 8:55 55
10 Sahar 62 68 57 67 57 62.2 124.4 8:56 54
11 Ali 60 52 61 69 62 60.8 121.6 8:57 53
12 Yuhui 59 61 60 61 60 60.2 120.4 8:58 52
13 Abdullah 50 50 50 55 51.25 102.5 1 8:59 51
56.35 112.7 9:00 50
*total minutes in class 9:01 49
9:02 48
Class average 99.5 9:03 47
9:04 46
9:05 45
9:06 44
9:07 43
9:08 42
9:09 41
9:10 40
9:11 Absent

 

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