I instigated class discussions with my three Science classes this week about their attitude and accountability (coming to class on time, prepared, with homework complete, and attitude and behavior in class.) Two of the classes had very little to say, basically saying if students aren’t being accountable that’s their problem, most of us are on track. The ones who aren’t prepared or accountable aren’t going to change, it is not affecting us. And they were the two classes who have the most students who are on track and being accountable.
Had a longer discussion with many more contributions from the other class. Some students tried to justify their behavior (I was late today because…). But students also weighed in on what it was like to be accountable in a class that was often yelled at by teachers for their behaviour or attitude.
We explored a few different options on how to handle student behaviour. Some suggestions I rejected: I should reward them which candy when they do behave properly or do their work like another teacher does; I should only teach them topics they are interested in (I don’t get to pick the curriculum, it is set by the Alberta government); and immediate suspensions if students are late twice. But there were other good ideas.
In the end, the ideas weren’t all that different than how I am handling things right now. But I am glad I gave them the opportunity for feedback.
I haven’t noticed a difference yet, but I hope I do soon. I am also using other strategies. Last class the students who had their safety contracts in made ice cream, and those who didn’t did the review questions from the textbook. I am hoping that will help get the last few safety contracts in since I have two labs planned this week, and I would much rather everone participate than do paperwork.