|The following ideas are a product of a faculty seminar at
Jefferson Community College, Kentucky. Sixty-three ideas are presented for faculty use
in dealing with retention/attrition. The 63 ideas are subdivided into four general
This category contains elements directly related to the affective domain of
student growth brought about by faculty/student interaction. Psych, ego, individual worth
are all intricately bound within this framework.
- Learn the name of each student as quickly as possible and use the student's name
in class. Based upon the atmosphere you want to create:
- Call on students by their first names.
- Call on students by using Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms.
- Tell the students by what name and title you prefer to be called (Prof., Dr.,
Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms, First Name).
- At the end of each class period, ask one student to stay for a minute to chat
(compliment on something: tell student you missed him/her if absent, etc.).
- Instead of returning tests, quizzed, themes in class, ask students to stop by
your office to pick them up. This presents an opportunity to talk informally with
- Call students on the telephone if they are absent. Make an appointment with
them to discuss attendance, make-up work, etc.
- Get feedback periodically from students (perhaps a select few) on their
perceptions of your attitudes toward them, your personal involvement, etc.
- Socialize with students as your "style" permits by attending their clubs or
social activities, by having lunch with them, by walking with them between classes,
- Conduct a personal interview with all students sometime during the semester.
- Provide positive reinforcement whenever possible; give students a respectful
answer to any question they might ask.
- Listen intently to students' comments and opinions. By using a "lateral
thinking technique" (adding to ideas rather than dismissing them), students feel
that their ideas, comments, and opinions are worthwhile.
- Be aware of the difference between students' classroom mistakes and their
- Be honest about your feelings, opinions, and attitudes toward students and
toward the subject matter. Don't be afraid to admit that you don't know all the
answers. If a student tells you something in confidence, respect that confidence.
Avoid making value judgments (verbally or non-verbally) about these confidences.
- Lend some of your books (reference) to students and borrow some of theirs in
return. You can initiate the process by saying, "I've just read a great book on
_______, would anyone like to borrow it?"
- Give your telephone number to students and the location of your office.
- A first class meeting, pair up the students and have them get acquainted with
one another. Switch partners every five (5) minutes.
- Have the students establish a "buddy" system for absences, work missed,
assignments, tutoring, etc. Exchange telephone numbers; pair them by majors or
|General Classroom Management
This section focuses literally on the day-to-day operations of your classes. The
items as a group emphasize planning, orderliness, and general good sense.
- Circulate around the class as you talk or ask questions. This movement creates
a physical closeness to the students. Avoid standing behind the lectern or sitting
behind the desk for the entire period. Do not allow the classroom to set up artificial
barriers between you and the students.
- Give each student a mid-term grade and indicate what each student must do to
- Tell the students (orally and in writing) what your attendance policy is. Make
them aware of your deep concern for attendance and remind them periodically of the
policy and the concern.
- Conduct a full instructional period on the first day of classes. This activity
sets a positive tone for the learning environment you want to set. Engage in some
of the interpersonal activities listed elsewhere.
- List and discuss your course objectives on the first day. Let students know
how your course can fit in with their personal/career goals. Discuss some of the
fears, apprehensions that both you and the students have. Tell them what they should
expect of you and how you will contribute to their learning.
- Let students know that the learning resources you use in class (slides, tapes,
films) are available to them outside of class. Explain the procedures to secure the
material, and take them to the area.
- Have students fill out an index card with name, address, telephone number, goals,
and other personal information you think is important.
- If the subject matter is appropriate, use a pre-test to determine their
knowledge, background, expertise, etc.
- Return tests, quizzes, and papers as soon as possible. Write comments (+ and -)
- Vary your instructional techniques (lecture, discussion, debate, small groups,
- When you answer a student's question, be sure he/she understands your answer.
Make the student repeat the answer in his/her own words.
- Get to class before the students arrive; be the last one to leave.
- Use familiar examples in presenting materials. If you teach rules, principles,
definitions, and theorems, explicate these with concrete examples that students can
- If you had to miss a class, explain why and what you will do to make up the time
- Clarify and have students understand what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior
in a classroom. Be consistent in enforcing your rules.
- Good eye contact with students is extremely important both in and out of class.
- Allow students to switch classes if work schedules changes or other salient
reasons develop. Cooperate with colleague if he/she makes such a request.
- Be prepared to use an alternate approach if the one you've chosen seems to bog
down. You should be confident enough with your own material so that student interests
and concerns, not lecture notes, determine the format of instruction.
- Throughout the course, but particularly during the crucial first class sessions:
- stress a positive "you can handle it" attitude
- emphasize your willingness to give individual help
- point out the relevancy of your subject matter to the concerns and goals
of your students
- capitalize on opportunities to praise the abilities and contributions of
students whose status in the course is in doubt; well-timed encouragement could
mean the difference between retention and attrition
- utilize a variety of instructional methods, drawing on appropriate
audio-visual aids as much as possible
- urge students to talk to you about problems, such as changes in work
schedule, before dropping your course. Alternate arrangements can often be made.
- Distribute an outline of your lecture notes before class starts. This approach
assists students in organizing the material you are presenting.
- If you require a term paper or research paper, you should take the responsibility
of arranging a library orientation. Librarians would be happy to cooperate.
- Have the counselors visit your classes to foster an awareness of counseling.
This category is based on the premise that peer influence can play a substantial
role in student success. Age differences, personality differences, and skill differences
can be utilized to produce positive results if you can get the students to work with one
- Have students read one another's papers before they turn them in.
This activity could help them locate one another's errors before being
- If the class lends itself to a field trip, have the students plan
it and make some or all of the arrangements.
- Ask students to submit sample test questions (objective or subjective)
prior to a test. The class itself can compose a test or quiz based on
- Create opportunities for student leaders to emerge in class. Use
their leadership skills to improve student performance.
- If students are receiving tutoring help, ask them to report the
content and results of their tutoring.
- Have students set specific goals for themselves throughout the
semester in terms of their learning and what responsibilities they will
This section presents the greatest challenge to the ability and creativity of each
faculty member. You must take the initiative to implement these suggestions, to test them,
and to device them.
- Utilize small group discussions in class whenever feasible.
- Take the initiative to contact and meet with students who are doing
poor work. Be especially cognizant of the "passive" student, one who
comes to class, sits quietly, does not participate, but does poorly on
tests, quizzes, etc.
- Encourage students who had the first part of a course to be in the
second part together. Try to schedule the same time slot for the
- Ask the Reading faculty to do a "readability study" of the texts you
use in your classroom.
- Develop library/supplementary reading lists which complement course
content. Select books at various reading levels.
- Use your background, experience, and knowledge to inter-relate your
subject matter with other academic disciplines.
- Throughout the semester, have students submit topics that they would
like to cover or discuss.
- Take students on a mini-tour of the learning resources center,
reading/study skills area, counseling center, etc. If a particular
student needs reading/study skills help, don't send him/her, TAKE
- Work with your division counselor to discuss procedures to follow-up
absentees, failing students, etc.
- Use your imagination to devise ways to reinforce positively student
accomplishments. Try to avoid placing students in embarrassing
situations, particularly in class.
- Create situations in which students can help you (get a book for
you from library, look up some reference material, conduct a class
- Set up special tutoring sessions and extra classes. Make these
activities mandatory, especially for students who are doing poorly.
- Confer with other faculty members who have the same students in
class. Help reinforce one another.
- Look at your record book periodically to determine student progress
(inform them) and determine if you know anything about that student
other than his/her grades.
- Team teach a class with a colleague or switch classes for a period
or two. Invite a guest lecturer to class.
- Use the library reference shelf for some of your old tests and
quizzes. Tell the students that you will use some questions from the
old tests in their next test.
- Engage in periodic (weekly) self-evaluation of each class. What
was accomplished this past week? How did students react?
- At mid-term and at final exam, your last test question should ask
if a student is going to continue at the college or drop out at the end
of the semester. If a potential drop-out is identified, you can advise
the student to work with the division counselor.