What to Ask

A student you know is having difficulties in a class.  Before giving advice, gather some facts.  Ask these questions.

  • Did you go to every single class?
  • If not, what did you do during those hours?
  • If not, how did learn the material you missed?
  • Did you inform the professor prior to your absence?
  • Did you make up, if possible, any points you missed by not being in class?
  • When you are in class, where do you sit?
  • How many questions do you ask each class session?
  • Do you ever text during class?
  • Do you ever cruise the internet during class?
  • Do you ever scroll around your phone during class?
  • Do you ever gossip with another student instead of engaging in the class?
  • Can I see your notes?  How many times have you read them over?
  • Did you turn in every assignment on time? If not, why not?
  • Can I see the best assignment you turned in?
  • Can I see the worst assignment you turned in?
  • Did you take advantage of every opportunity to get extra points?
  • How many hours and how many days did you study for the midterm?
  • Show me your graded midterm.
  • Pick one question you missed and explain what happened.

As you can see, these questions are really about the student’s commitment and habits for success.  To repeat,

Five Habits of Highly Effective Students

  1. They show up on time or early.
  2. They show up ready to work and prepared for the day.
  3. They have done their homework.
  4. Their work shows they care.
  5. They actively participate in the endeavors of the day.
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About jrh794

I am a sixty-five year old math instructor at Southern Oregon University. I taught at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed California for twenty-six years. Prior to that I worked as a computer programmer, carpenter and in various other jobs. I graduated from Rice University in 1967 and have a MS in Operations Research from Stanford. In the past I have hand-built a stone house and taken long solo bicycle tours. Now I ride my mountain bike and play golf for recreation.
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