As an instructor, you give careful thought regarding how to use class time effectively. You plan the course as a whole; and, you have a plan for each class session, considering how to cover your material in a given period.

Students, also, should give consideration to the ways they can maximize the time they spend in class. In her book The Confident Student, Eighth Edition, Carol C. Kanar provides students with suggestions that will help them use class time effectively. We’ve summarized them below. Share them with your students:

  • Come to class on time and prepared. It’s tempting to miss class, skip the weekly reading and homework, “space out” during a lecture, or turn in an assignment late. However, your instructor designed and assigned these activities to foster your learning; therefore, it’s in your interest to keep up with the assignments to the best of your ability. Show up ready to listen, and with any assigned work completed. Frequently refer to the course syllabus to ensure that you’re staying on top of your assignments.
  • Listen carefully to the lecture and other classroom activities. Become an active listener. Listen attentively to lectures and take notes as you go. Adjusting your posture—sitting up straight, leaning in (as opposed to back), and maintaining eye contact—can also help you get, and stay, engaged and active.
  • Choose a note-taking system and stick with it. You can draw up informal outlines, leaving space on the side to jot down the key words and phrases that stood out. You could keep your notes in an “idea cluster” (or concept map), which allows you to write down, and review, your notes in a more visual manner. Or, you might choose the Cornell Method, which involves five steps (record, reduce, recite, reflect, and review) and is quite systematized in nature. Whichever method you choose, use it consistently in your courses,  and you’ll find that your notes end up more useful as  you study for examinations.
  • Maintain, and raise, your level of engagement. Engage in classroom participation: it can build your confidence! Speak up and get involved. And, learn how to give a clear and well-organized presentation! (Kanar, 104- 124)


Reference: Kanar, Carol C. 2014. The Confident Student, Eighth Edition. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.


How do you teach students to use class time effectively? Share your tips in the comments.