Student’s Disengagement in Class - Identifying Reasons

Student’s disengagement in class is a major issue that teaching fraternity across various institutes are facing. It is surprising to see that this issue is seen in various premium institute of our country as well. This is a grave concern and requires proper attention and prompt redressal. Disengaged students have adverse impact on the teaching learning process. Such students are usually found to be below average performers, who face difficulty in successful completion of the program, or get poor scores and often fail in getting apt placements. They also dilute the brand of the institute. It therefore becomes imperative to address this matter by finding reasons that tend to lead towards disengagement.

There are various reasons for student’s disengagement in class. These can be grouped into three categories (A) Factors related to students (B) Factors related to Faculty and Institute and (C) Factors related to the curriculum.

 

Factors related to students

  1. Low level of motivation: Motivation leads a person to exert efforts towards attainment of tasks and goals. Learners get disengaged due to low motivation level arising from not having proper learning opportunities and challenging tasks to perform in class, pursuing a course that is not of their first choice or pursuing a course merely due to influence of other students or because of family pressure.
  2. Lack of clarity regarding career: Students, often are unsure about their career objectives. They do not have a proper career plan for themselves and are very unclear about what they want to do or achieve in their life. They lack proper clarity regarding their career. Several students pursuing post graduate professional courses are found preparing themselves for government jobs that have eligibility of just graduation level. It is also seen they are often aiming to secure a job that is totally unrelated to the course they are pursuing. It reflects the non-seriousness of students towards studies and in such a scenario it's very obvious that the student will be least interested in the concepts and subjects being taught in the class.
  3. Education or studies is on low priority: Few students do not have education as their first priority and they pursue a course only because of some other personal reasons (family, marriage, friend’s influence etc.). As education is not a first priority such students do not put in best efforts into academics, they are disinterested and disengaged in classes.

 

  1. Over-dependence on online resources, ready-made study material or guides: Effortless and easy availability of study material on internet, availability of ready-made study materials like notes and guides in market have provided student with content to study without being properly engaged in class. Knowledge attained through such means is shallow and superficial and can never match knowledge standard acquired through direct face to face interaction of students and the teacher in the classroom.
  2. Unmet or Unrealistic expectations: Student’s expectations describe what they want with respect to learning opportunities and learning environments. Students get disengaged as they find that their expectation regarding institute, teaching and learning are not met in a desired way. On various occasions these expectations are unrealistic, arising out of student’s imagination while on some instances it is found that some of the very basic and genuine expectations are not met.

 

  1. Factors related to faculty and institute
    1. Inappropriate teaching style: In appropriate pedagogical approach of teacher is a major factor resulting in student’s disengagement. The present-day student has easy access to study material, both offline and online content, thus faculty members needs to adopt new innovative methods using ICT and adopting methods like flipped classroom, blended techniques, case study, short videos or movies and not just focussing on using books to teach. This makes teaching learning process interesting, engaging and effective. Mere theoretical concept sharing sessions are monotonous in which students will be least interested.
    2. Inability to link content with practical use in industry: Present day students are always seen to be in short of time. They look towards focusing on things that seems important to them and leave the rest. They fail to connect what they are studying to its utilisation in the corporate world. It is therefore necessary that faculty members are able to relate the content being taught by them and its use in the industry. This make students realise importance of the content being taught and keep them engaged in the class.
    3. Inability of faculty to identify disengagement in the class: Sometimes the issue of disengagement is very much present in the class but not identified by the faculty at all, this mainly happens in the case of new faculties or those having less teaching experience. They fail to identify and separate students into engaged and disengaged category.
    4. Inappropriate institute’s structure and processes: It is sometimes seen that students face problems because of institute’s complex structure and processes relating to fees submission, leaves approval and attendance monitoring, transportation, canteen and mess. This cause development of dissatisfaction in them and often leads to disengagement.

 

  1. Factors related to curriculum
    1. Lack of updation of curriculum to suit industrial need: Curriculum adopted by institute or university to which the institute is affiliated is not regularly updated because of which students often study content that is redundant or obsolete.
    2. Curriculum more inclined towards theory: The curriculum is more inclined towards theory and there is very less or total absence of practical learning, therefore students sometimes find it to be disengaging.

These are some of the major reasons responsible for disengagement of students in the class. It is critical that the matter is not left unattended as it can lead to adverse consequences on teaching learning process in the class. In the next blog we would try exploring ways through which the issue of disengagement can be addressed.