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Pedagogical Development Office

Teaching Tip: Don’t Panic – There’s a Plan!

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Image courtesy of Renjith Krishnan/ freedigitalphotos.net

Time management is always an issue for our students.  Lots of teachers encourage students to use a calendar or their agenda to manage their end-of-semester tasks – too often to no avail!  The key may be making the students work on their calendar in class, rather than just ‘suggesting’ that they complete it on their own.

This exercise should take 15-20 minutes. Do this with your students at the beginning of the last month of the semester.

1. Give each student a blank calendar with just the remaining weeks of the semester on it.

Introduce the exercise by reminding them that there is ONE MONTH LEFT.

2. On the board, write the dates of ALL the outstanding assessments in your course.

3. Once students have entered these dates on their calendars, have them record the dates for their assignments in ALL of their courses.

4. Next, have the students plan for their assignments – if a paper is due May 6th, when will the student research it? Do a draft? Edit? Study time should also be accounted for.

5. Now have students use a different colour to record outside time commitments:

      • Work schedules
      • Social commitments
      • Appointments (dentist, driver’s test)

At this point, some students may need a new blank calendar! It’s a good idea to bring extra copies.

Students are often initially overwhelmed by the calendar. You can reassure them by pointing out that (a) they lived through the last months of previous semesters and that (b) this time they have a plan.

Encourage students to keep the calendar handy – on the wall over their home workspace, or in their agenda – and to update it. Tell them to cross out tasks and dates once completed – it’s a visual representation of accomplishment. You can even have them cross out the dates we’ve already passed.

Pedagogical Development Office
Vanier College