Attendance in classrooms is made compulsory to ensure continuity in the student’s learning process. When a student is regularly absent from class, it has an adverse affect on their academic performance. This is because frequent absences may lead to missing out on vital information, facts and instructions that result in partial understanding of a topic, submission of incomplete work and poor participation in class activities. Some schools also dictate that students should have a particular attendance percentage in order to appear for exams. Therefore it is of utmost importance that parents ensure that their children attend classes.
What is absenteeism?
When a student misses a class without giving a proper reason for their absence, it is known as absenteeism.Chronic absenteeism is when the student is missing 10% or more of a school year. The most common reasons for absenteeism are: sickness, lack of interest in class activities and studies, fear of going to school due to bullying and poor peer relations.
How can we help?
We can help reduce or prevent absenteeism among students by undertaking certain necessary steps, such as:
Identifying the Cause: Engage in a one-on-one discussion with the student in order to identify the probable cause of his absenteeism. This information can help you to better address these issues.
Imparting knowledge: Educate the students regarding the importance of attendance, the adverse effects of absenteeism and school rules concerning the same.
Involving Parents: Parents should be made aware of the excess number of classes missed by their child. This can be done by arranging regular meetings and working with parents to plan out strategies best suited for their child. For example, in case of health related issues, the teacher can arrange for an extra class to help the student with the missed out classes. Parents should also be informed of other issues like bullying and poor peer relations, so as to provide the necessary support and encouragement.
Second home: The school is like a second home for students. Therefore, you need to ensure that they it is a safe and happy place for them. Teachers should be perceptive to a student’s fluctuating behavioral or performance changes. It is important to develop a warm open relation with them and create opportunities that encourage them to approach you with their problems.
Engaging classroom: Plan for active1, interactive and engaging class sessions to rule out boredom and disinterest as causes of absenteeism. This can be done by incorporating various active strategies like role playing, debates or through use of technologies like smart boards, clickers etc.
Motivation: Use different reinforcements to motivate students to attend classes. Pinning an attendance sheet on the classroom board is a visual reminder of all the classes they have missed. Rewards can be handed out to the student with the maximum attendance (works well in the lower classes) and instead of punishments, students with lower attendance can be given the duty of performing different class chores (students and teacher can collectively decide this, in advance).
Extracurricular sessions: Organize various clubs and class activities (planning out a birthday or festival celebration) and encourage students to participate in the same. This helps break the monotony of every day classes and livens up the classroom.
Thus, we need to try to create an environment of fun and learning and instill in our students a positive feel towards studies and class activities, which will in turn reduce absenteeism.
Discuss here: How do you respond when a child is consistently missing school ?