How can I get my students to stop rushing through their work?

“All done!” Seriously?

“ALL done!” Show of hands: how many of us have students who rush through their work just to get it over with? This week, teacher Monika asked our community of teachers at the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE! what to do to help students understand the importance of taking their time. Here are some of the top suggestions.

Break the assignment in half.

“Give them half the assignment at a time, or you could give them points for slowing down.” —Mary V.

Make them aware of their pacing. “Use a timer and set your expectations through that.” —Mary F.

Another idea to incorporate into using a timer: “Set a timer and have him use all of that time completing the work. So he must not only do it but spend those extra minutes checking it. He cannot turn it in or ask you to check it until the timer goes off.” —Rachel M.

“I make my rushers double-check and put two checks at the top to indicate he’s done so. I let the parents know this so that the parents could also look and see that the student double-checked everything.” —Tammy B.

Find ways to address the reason for the rushing.

“Finishing first might make him feel like he’s the smartest or the best.” —Matthew S.

If this is the case, you could develop a mantra for your class or put up posters that encourage thoughtful work and taking enough time for accuracy. If those practices are recognized as valuable in the classroom culture, students might recognize the importance of slowing down.

Positive and negative reinforcement.

“You could offer incentives for improving the quality of the work.” —Holly E.

“I once observed a third grade problem with a student that had a similar problem. The teacher said that if one thing was done wrong because he handed it in too quickly, she’d void the entire test. It worked, and the student learned to slow down.” —Lorraine A.

Help them relate.

“I had a fourth grader who constantly rushed. He liked to play video games, so I related it to that by telling him that you’re not taking the time to read the quest, and you’re bringing me the wrong items. It worked!”—Heather M.

And, if all else fails, our teachers advise to keep the solution simple.

“Have him do it again!”—Darrah M.

Posted by WeAreTeachers Staff

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