xi's moments
Home | Society

Mandatory front-row seating: A step forward or back for student engagement?

By Xu Zhesheng | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-11-21 23:50

A recent push by Chinese universities to require students to sit in the front row during lectures has ignited a debate about the effectiveness of such measures in promoting academic engagement.

Xinxiang Medical University in Henan province has begun enforcing stricter attendance rules, including checks on whether students carry textbooks, take notes, ask questions, and sit in the front row. This policy follows similar measures implemented by several other universities across China, including those in Henan, Sichuan, Shaanxi, Hunan, and Jilin provinces.

One institute in Hunan's Xiangnan University even went so far as to require the last row to be reported to teachers if it remains empty during lectures. Parents of students repeatedly found sitting in the back would also be summoned.

However, opinions are divided on whether front-row seating can lead to improved learning outcomes.

Proponents of the policy argue that it can enhance academic performance by encouraging students to focus better and participate more actively in class discussions. They also maintain that front-row seating facilitates better communication between teachers and students.

Critics, on the other hand, question the effectiveness of such measures in determining learning outcomes. They argue that every student has different learning habits, and some may prefer sitting in the back. They also point out that many teachers deliver unengaging lectures, simply reading from slides, which is the primary reason students may avoid sitting in the front.

A commentary from Jimu News urges universities to focus on improving the quality of their courses rather than relying solely on strict rules and regulations. They point to examples of innovative courses, such as a love psychology course offered at Wuhan University and a Peking Opera course taught by a physics professor at Xiamen University, as evidence of the potential to engage students through appealing teaching methods.

Ultimately, the key to fostering students' engagement in class lies in improving the overall quality of education. As university students are adults, the fundamental purpose of higher education should be to cultivate self-discipline and a genuine interest in learning, as noted in a commentary by ThePaper.cn.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349