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Can We Treat Our Students Like Adults?

For many of us, our students are first-time college students which means they are first time adults. For many of these students this means this is the first time they are given the chance to choose for themselves. Their whole lives someone has been making all of the decisions for them. The term helicopter parent and most recently lawnmower parent come to mind when I think of these students.  If you have never heard these terms before I will tell you what my mother always told me… look it up.

I think we are seeing the repercussions of these types of parents in college today. We are finding ourselves struggling with getting students to take a chance and make mistakes. We struggle with getting our student to persist through difficult situations.

Heck we can’t even get our students to show up or get off their phones. I have literally had students watching movies in class before. What is the point in even coming if you are going to watch movies? It makes me wonder if my students are aware that they are adults and they don’t have to be here if they don’t want to be.

So what do we do to get these students to realize they are adults and they need to behave like it? Do we give them the choice to make the wrong decisions (which could lead to them failing the class) or do we continue to tell them how they should behave? I think sometimes we need to recognize that the reason we have students that are unsuccessful is because they have never been given the freedom to fail and have to pick themselves back up. Maybe we need to give them that opportunity.

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