Learning contract

This contract is valid and binding for the undersigned.

1. Responsibility: Students are to take ownership of their own learning experience and may not hamper other students’ learning opportunities. The lecturer will endeavour to provide interesting and relevant opportunities for learning.

2. Attendance: Students will make every effort to arrive at lectures on time, will attend the full length of the lecture session and will sign the attendance register honestly. The lecturer will be committed to the lecture times and will ensure that lectures begin on time and that there are breaks if necessary.

3. Absenteeism: Under reasonable circumstances if a student is unable to attend a lecture, it is the responsibility of that student to find out what he/she has missed, by speaking to a fellow classmate, logging onto Blackboard or contacting the lecturer. The lecturer will ensure that all information distributed to the class is loaded onto Blackboard.

4. Participation: Students will engage in classroom discussions and will participate in classroom activities. The lecturer will allow students to voice their own opinions and learn from other students.

5. Preparation: Students may be expected to prepare for a lecture – this may include such tasks as reading a short article or watching a video. The lecturer must ensure that all lectures are well-prepared.

6. Understanding: If a student does not understand a concept, he/she is encouraged to discuss this with his/her classmates, read lecture notes or to contact the lecturer. The lecturer will be available as a resource for information but will allow students to take the initiative in asking for assistance in learning.

7. Respect: If either a student or lecturer is lecturing, explaining a concept, answering/asking a question, others should show respect by paying attention to and listening to that person.

8. Assessment: Students will complete and hand-in all exercises, assignments or activities and tests. The lecturer will ensure that all exercises, assignments or activities and tests are assessed and results recorded. In order to reduce the workload of students for the remainder of Term 1, the lecturer will not assign large tasks or homework assignments to students provided that all the conditions above are met.

Reflection: The Supervisory Management class that I lectured comprised approximately 120 students. I was particularly struggling with class discipline and motivating the students and (naively) hoped that if I made a “deal” with them that if they toed the line I would reduce their homework loads. In retrospect the entire endeavour was flawed, least of all because the contract was autocratically imposed in a “top-down” fashion with no consultation or input from students. I still identify with the frustration discipline that motivated me to experiment with such a strategy but I have since learned other techniques of encouraging respectful classroom behaviour. For example, involvement of students in a lesson motivates them to tackle problems and by modelling positive behaviour and allowing students to take an active role in the lecture-room changes the dynamic of discipline.

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