Renewing the Energy Level

Today was moving day here in my classes at the University of Richmond. I find that after about 2-3 weeks even the most enthusiastic student starts to get a bit lethargic. There is something about every day looking the same that eventually gets to be a grind. And, learning is never efficient if it feels like a grind.

So, when I sense a drain in the energy level of my students, I come in and move everyone in class around. I have a seating chart so I just print up a new one and move the students around in a random fashion. I move the ones on the left to the right and the ones on the front to the back and so on. Usually, I feel an immediate surge of enthusiasm. All of a sudden, things feel new again. It won’t last forever but for another 2-3 weeks, they should do better.

In addition, I want the students to get to know the people in class other than just their friends. I think that should be a goal of every college class. Moving them around helps that.

I also want to see if some students do better close up or far away. Yeah, there are reasons to move students around.

However, the primary reason is to create a new class feeling. I don’t want them to be too settled in. I find (at least for me) that comfortable students often don’t have the edge that I want.

I moved them all today and, sure enough, I felt like class just went better.

Where are we in Financial Accounting? We have gone through transactions and financial statements. They now seem to understand the difference between rent expense and prepaid rent. They have gotten a feel for terms such as contributed capital, retained earnings, cost of goods sold, and the like. On Friday, if it doesn’t snow, we will introduce the concept of debits and credits to them. That’s always a fun challenge (for them as well as me). I would really like to have them on their toes for that. So, I moved them all into new seats today.

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