May 31, 2006

Contracts with failing students

Fred the Fish at Are we doing anything today? has a post up about successfully working with a failing student, and the contract the teacher drew up for him. The comments are interesting, too. A key point of the contract was frequent lunch-time "check-ins", checking in on progress made. A reader comments: Yes, the lunch check-ins are very helpful. I'd normally given them a list of work they have to accomplish, printed from, and then a due date. It never occured to me to have periodic check-ins.
Fred replies: I thought the check-ins were important for this kid, and really, anyone who's failing, because part of why they don't do the work is that they don't know how. The check-in forces them to come in and get that help. My kid and I sat at Starbucks for two hours working on his essay. He would not have written it otherwise.
And adds: I don't think all kids deserve a contract nor will they respond to it. Contracts take work. The trick is making it not be so much extra (my Starbucks meeting was the only long meeting) that they create more trouble than value.
Hmmmm, long meetings at Starbucks.... maybe it's time I introduced "Starbucks check-ins" with my students...

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