The following post was written by Anna Wasson and Spencer Kasselman, two of the Adams Center’s Student Fellows. The post is a summary of the session they facilitated.
Before the bulk of the presentation, we wanted to begin with disclaimers on our presentation. These were that we understand the importance of attendance in a classroom, that students understand how attached a teacher is to their class, that we are not experts, that technology and class material make a difference, and that attending a Christian university makes a difference as well.
We began by telling personal stories of how attendance policies have affected friends of ours and how a policy can communicate more about how the teacher cares for a class than they may understand. We then asked teachers to share their own attendance policies just to show how different majors are going to need different policies. We also discussed ways in which teachers can encourage better participation such as paper worksheets to complete in class as well as more activities that allow students to talk and be comfortable in front of their peers as well as their teacher. Not only does this build relationship and community learning, but it also creates empathy and understanding in the teacher-student relationship. This included class-specific suggestions on technology policies as well as why students may be more tempted to be distracted in class.
We ended the session with a continued discussion on the following prompts:
- What do you want your attendance policy to communicate?
- Is there value in setting an attendance policy based on the course level (100-400)
- What has been effective in terms of attendance policies pre and post Covid times?
- What adjustments did you make for COVID that you decided to keep in future semesters?
- Better ways to track attendance for both students and teachers (Canvas)
This presentation revolved around what it looks like to use a simple thing such as attendance to communicate the love of Christ to students. Attendance is a critical part of any classroom setting and there will always be students who either constantly skip or who miss without fail. This presentation was rich with discussion and provided those present with a better understanding of a student’s perspective on attendance.