As students take more responsibility for their own learning and success, it empowers them. I recently read this article about keeping students accountable for having done their work by requiring them to use class time to email their parents letting them know that they hadn’t been able to complete the homework, and why. This provides a great conversation starter so that when the student gets home, parents can be aware of and discuss with their child what happened (or didn’t happen).
At my previous school in Guatemala City, we were trained in and began implementing the program Leader in Me which teaches all students that they can be leaders, and empowers them to set and meet regular goals, both academic and personal. At the beginning of each marking period they were to set a few specific, measurable goals in each of these areas. Then, to close the marking period, parents would come to receive students’ grades and meet with their teachers. Instead of this being a time for the teacher to take the central role, and explain to the parents why their child had gotten the grade they did, students took center stage. Each student would open their Leader in Me notebook, and show their parents the goals they had set, whether or not they had met them, why (or why not), and how they planned to set or meet goals going forward. This not only shifted the focus from teacher to student, but shifted responsibility in the same direction, giving students the push to focus on how they could take charge and make things happen in their lives, and learning.
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