Absenteeism- How to Tackle it?

In the last few years, the world has witnessed a complete tectonic shift in the field of education. Especially since the pandemic, when schools and university campuses were shut down, locking millions of students and teachers out of the classroom, shooting up in turn, the demand for online teaching, India has witnessed a huge spike in the number of ed-tech platforms and app for teaching online. Online teaching has certainly changed the teaching and learning methodology for the better, however, little has changed regarding problems like student absenteeism in the classroom even in online classes. Student absenteeism may be defined as any inexplicable absence of a student from his class. There is also a term called chronic absenteeism, which is used in cases when a student is absent in roughly 10% or more of his classes. Some of the most common reasons given by students for missing their classes include illness, fear of bullying, poor relationship with friends, lack of interest in studies, and likewise. Student attendance in the classroom is integral to ensure consistency in learning. Regular absenteeism has an adverse effect on student learning outcomes and academic achievement. When a student is frequently absent from his class, he misses out on crucial instructions, facts, and information which is the reason behind the poor understanding of a topic, getting disconnected from the contents of upcoming classes, and poor class participation as well. Many institutions nowadays also require students to maintain a minimum attendance percentage to be eligible to appear in exams. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that student absenteeism is prevented in your classroom. Here we list out steps through which you can tackle student absenteeism in your classroom….

Ascertain the Reason for Absence-

Try to identify the root cause of the absence through discussion with the student. Speak with him in a friendly manner and keep an open mind as identifying the real cause for his absence will allow you to address his problem in a better manner. 

Educate Your Students-

You must properly explain to your students the importance of attendance, both the adverse effects of absence like partial learning, poor performance as well as the rules of the institutions against absenteeism which might act as a deterrent for the students. 

Discussion with Guardians-

You should ensure to keep parents in the loop about the high number of leaves that their child is taking. This can be accomplished by periodic parent-teacher conferences and working out strategies that are best suited for the student. For instance, if the student is suffering from any health condition, he could be helped with extra classes, or alternatively, he could be provided with recorded lectures to catch up with the classes he missed. 

Develop Student Engagement

It is a pre-emptive strategy to tackle student absenteeism. Many times the real reason for absence is just disinterest and boredom on part of the student, though quite often they come up with other excuses for their absence. It is important to understand that as a teacher, you not only need to give the required information to your students but also present it in a way that is engaging to the students. Therefore, extracurricular activities should also be encouraged on your part so as to develop an active learning environment. 

Provide Personalized Attention-

Personalized attention is vital for student engagement. Every student is unique in his own way and needs to be understood. Some students get anxious when they can’t perform well in academics or have a hard time understanding the subject. This eventually leads to disinterest and absenteeism unless they receive individualized support from their educator. Thus, personalized attention helps in preventing student absenteeism. 

Developing a positive student culture-

Educational institutions should focus on building a positive culture on their campuses. On part of teachers, this can be achieved by avoiding the usage of extreme measures to discipline their students. Extreme punishments lead to student disengagement from the classroom. Also, there should be proper checks and balances to prevent bullying of any kind on the campus. Overall, a positive culture helps in increasing student count in the classroom. 

These are some tips that will come in handy for any teacher who wants to tackle the problem of student absenteeism in their classrooms. 

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