Getting students to spit out the gum and act professional
Can texting, napping, ball cap-wearing students learn professionalism?
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• "Treat students like adults. I do not care if they miss class, but they need to accept the consequences of it, excused or unexcused. I will not discuss what they miss and tell them that they should never ask me if they "missed anything important." They need to contact me ASAP if they are missing class and should ask politely for me to reschedule an exam, not expect that I will do it. I am under no obligation to do so. Students who act appropriately and as adults are far more likely to get what they ask for."Skip to next paragraph
Jeff is the Jack C. Massey Chair in Entrepreneurship and Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.
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• "Teach students that small acts go a long way. Greeting me and their fellow students when they come into class, writing polite emails in the correct manner, being a good team member are all important."
• "Explain the long term consequences for unprofessional behavior. Falling asleep in class may not seem a big deal now, but it will when you need a reference to a grad school where I have a buddy or for a job with a local entrepreneur. A lack of punctuality makes me and fellow students less likely to help you in the future."
• "When you can't beat them, join them. I do allow students to have computers and phones in the room and try to utilize them in class. I teach students how to look up company websites and figure out what the site suggests about the current and future success. We then discuss whether students would fund the organization. Since I can't get the students to read, this at least allows for discussion. I have students text into a poll to help promote a discussion (polleverywhere.com)."
• "Enlist students' help when crafting professional behavior. When they state what behavior is appropriate and inappropriate, it is easier to chastise them when they act inappropriately."
To those of you in academia, the faculty at Bradley are in the early stages of developing this system, so they welcome any ideas or comments. Eden Blair can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
But I know they would also welcome thoughts from the rest of you who are dealing with these issues with young workers in your businesses. I am sure they would welcome your thoughts, as well. I also think that some of the ideas they are developing must also morph into orientation and training ideas in businesses to help address the behavioral challenges I hear from many of you when dealing with your young workers.
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