Are You ‘Here’ or ‘Present’?


Attendance in TOEFL training classes is a requirement in many EFL education programs. I know. I’ve taught hundreds of them. Teachers take roll calls to determine who is ‘present’, and thus, who is ‘absent’. “Juliet?” a teacher will call out. “Here!” Juliet will reply, and a tick is placed next to her name. She is ‘here’, in class, behind her desk, but is she really ‘present’? As Juliet knows, studying dry material is something that all university students need to get used to, right? 

So, the ability to focus your mind is essential.

The dictionary defines ‘present’ as ‘being in a particular place, not elsewhere’. It’s an inadequate definition for classroom attendance purposes. Sometimes students (and teachers!) assume that simply existing in a physical space at a certain time constitutes being ‘present’.

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In an interactive environment like a best TOEFL training classroom, however, being ‘here!’ must mean more than just warming a chair – you must also be ‘present’: mindful, aware, attentive, focused, alert, and engaged with others; hence the expression ‘presence of mind’.

So, lovely students (and teachers!), the next time you find yourself in a TOEFL test prep (or any!) class, are you ‘present’, or are you just ‘here’?

Incidentally, you know what’s better than going to a TOEFL classroom to prep for a forthcoming exam? NOT going to a TOEFL classroom to prep for a forthcoming exam!

TOEFL  Clear Strategies & Tactics is a self-paced course designed for those learners who have the self-discipline to train without supervision. Check out some free lectures before you purchase the course to make sure it’s a good fit for you.

If you are interested in learning even more about TOEFL Training, check out my course Clear Strategies & Tactics

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27 Replies to “Are You ‘Here’ or ‘Present’?”

  1. Also I think that it is important point. Many students were just ‘here’, but they have to be ‘present’
    So I agree your opinion John.

    P.S I’m ‘present’ John.


  2. I do agree with this. If you are attending a class or a lecture you choose to here, then you should pay more focus on what you are learning and listening now!

  3. I certainly agree with the article. It is true that being present means more than just sit there and space out. Thanks for good advice John!

  4. I agree with you. I think ‘here’ is casual and ‘present’ is polite. ‘present’ means coming for something. The point is that the purpose.

  5. I agree your opinion. While students are sitting in the classroom, if they think ‘game, TV shows, SNS’ which are unconnected with class, consequently it will be no use. They definitely existed here, but that does not mean they completely participated in class. For example, students who involve writing classroom can not submit a blank paper. Did not write anything is same result as situation that student was absent. Likewise, students who take learning language class should try to focus on the class. I think real ‘present’ is that students actively participate in class.

  6. i totally agree with this article, i think we need to not only being present, but particerpate acitvely in every class. i am looking forward to being present in dabate in englsh ^^

  7. I agree with your idea! Because students’ particication is really important to make class more efficient!

  8. I didn’t have the time to read it, but now I read it I can understand how important it is to be present in class and really being aware what’s going on in the class, not simply being seated on the spot. Thank you for your article!!

  9. Sorry for late visit!! I had a good time in your class. And I’ll keep contact with you after this semester!!

  10. Oh! My reply was deleted.. I write it again! Your opinion is very simple and clear! ‘Be present’ is not just ‘Body’ but ‘Mind’!! I agree with you John~

  11. Oh! I saw this late.. But your message is simple, and clear! Being ‘present’ is not just body, but mind! I read it attractive~ Thanks John!

  12. Good, solid content. I just sent this on 5/18/2019 to a coworker who’s been involved in a little research of his own on this subject. To say thanks, he just bought me a drink! So, I guess I should say: Thanks for the drink!

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