Friday, October 20, 2017

Dealing with Students Having a Sense of Entitlement

Here, we’re talking about students who claim they deserve better grades, because they feel entitled to them. Here is an academic definition of “entitlement”:

“a self-centered disposition characterized by a general disregard for traditional faculty relationship boundaries and authority” or it can be described more functionall: “a sense that they [students] deserve what they want because they want it and want it now.”

In the archives of Faculty Focus, we find a six suggestions for dealing with these students. The suggestions come from Lippmann, S., Bulanda, R. E., and Wagenaar, T. C. (2009). Student entitlement: Issues and strategies for confronting entitlement in the classroom and beyond. College Teaching, 57 (4), 197–203. Here are the  highlights:

  1. Make expectations explicit. 
  2. Give students something to lose by negotiating.  What the authors recommend is that faculty agree to re-evaluate work but that reassessment may result in the grade being raised or the grade being lowered (or it may stay the same).
  3. Provide examples of “excellent” work. 
  4. Ask students to make the case first in writing. 
  5.  Resocialize students and faculty. “Explain your philosophy of teaching and learning and your focus on student responsibility. … Socialize students into assuming responsibility for their own efforts and their own learning so that they are less likely to blame you for any shortcomings.”
  6. Institutional responses. The authors believe that institutional climate plays a role in determining how students behave and that certain climates diminish the amount of entitlement students may feel. They use rigorous first-year seminars as an example of how some institutions establish intellectual expectations for students.

For the full discussion, please click here.


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