To improve college study skills, teachers encourage good study habits, following attendance policy

Professors and bad habitsWhile of course there are the Dean’s List students out there, most college students aren’t exactly known for having the best study habits. And don’t think this goes unnoticed by your professors and employers! Whether it’s non-adherence to the attendance policy, arriving unprepared, sleeping in class or not following directions, teachers are exasperated. They want to improve your college study skills and academic experience. This will only help you to eventually go on to dazzle an interviewer and potential boss in the future. So here are some things you should probably stop doing ASAP:

Skipping class

Everyone has skipped a class now and then. But chronic non-attendance can disrupt the class and disrupt your ability to learn the topic. Your teacher depends on you to know the material that was presented in the previous class. If you miss lectures and assignments, it is harder for you to keep up. Paying attention to the attendance policy also prepares you to follow a schedule, a useful skill when getting a job.

By attending class, you benefit from “getting to know your professors (sit in the front few rows for extra brownie points) and developing professional relationships, which can ultimately lead to securing credible recommendations or outside professional opportunities,” wrote Meaghan O’Connor in “Skipping class: Does it make a difference?” January 26, 2012  on the USA Today College website.

Coming to class unprepared

It’s all too easy to come to class unprepared. If you answer any of these questions “No,” you may be in trouble:

  • Did you read the material?
  • Did you do the assignment?
  • Do you know the difference between eighteenth and nineteenth century American history?
  • Are you taking notes?
  • Are you even awake?

Teachers need you to have a foundation for the material over which they can present and discuss the topic in class. If you’re not prepared to learn, you’re just taking up space.

Sitting still in class

It isn’t enough to show up to class prepared if you’re only going to sit there. Believe it or not, teachers want you to talk in class… by asking questions and creating stimulating dialogue. Back and forth discussion in a classroom makes it lively and interesting. It shows the teacher you’re understanding the material, that you’re interested in it and that you can communicate your ideas to the teacher and the other students. When a student just sits there and stares off into the distance, the teacher may think that student isn’t getting what the class is about.

Not following directions

“It sounds obvious, but you would be amazed how frequently the simplest directions are ignored to the detriment of a student’s grade,” observed Katherine Sharp Landdeck, Ph.D., of Texas Woman’s University, in the August 27, 2012 Huffington Post article, “From a professor’s perspective: Advice for college students.” Landdeck continued, “Faculty often spend hours toiling over detailed assignments in an attempt to guide students to do the work as they want it. Then, frustrated by those directions not being followed, they take points off of the offending student’s grade,”

Sleeping in or disrupting class

Seriously, the person standing in front of the room full of people can see you. You’re not fooling anyone if you think you’re hiding your dozing off or passing notes or texting or painting your nails or eating your lunch. And the other students can see you, too.

Being a slacker

Maybe you think the slacker look works for you, but other students — and your teachers — may find your style disruptive. Try to answer yes to all of these questions:

  • Are you wearing clean-ish clothes?
  • Did you shower and comb your hair (at least recently)?
  • Are you dressed appropriately for society?
  • Are you alert and not under the influence of alcohol or drugs?

College is a time to prepare for life. The hygiene habits you develop will show the world what you expect your place in it will be. Are you a future slacker or a future professional member of society?

Being too introverted (or too extroverted)

There’s been some debate on whether teachers like students who are quiet, introverted and conforming, or whether they like students who are extroverted and involved. There is truth to the idea that students need to conform to some degree in order to keep the classroom efficient and civilized. In fact, it may be best to keep your creative outbursts until after class.

“One of the most consistent findings in educational studies of creativity has been that teachers dislike personality traits associated with creativity,” revealed a study by Erik L. Westby and V. L. Dawson, quoted by Alex Tabarrok in “Teachers don’t like creative students,” December 12, 2011, on Marginal Revolution. “Research has indicated that teachers prefer traits that seem to run counter to creativity, such as conformity and unquestioning acceptance of authority.”

But don’t hide your creativity too much! While some teachers see extroverted students as obnoxious or misbehaving, others see them as engaged and excited about learning.

What other traits do you find make your professors just cringe?

1 reply
  1. Anthony says:

    Your ideas were really creative and innovative, yet they were really useful enough for me. I never found it difficult to follow your procedures, and I would love to share this with my family and friends. Thanks and more power to your website.


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