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2011 Back to School: Michelle Graves

What follows is a summary of the presentation by Michelle Graves. 

Student Self Management Diary – Helping students to become better students

By Michelle Graves

In the session I demonstrated a tool, that is basically a behaviour modification tool, that I developed to quickly identify to my students what I expected in class (punctuality, pencils etc), but turned the management of it back onto the students. I was driven to create this tool because I wanted to fix things that were important to me in my classroom; to create a smoother environment for teaching, and it needed to be a non-distracter in class.

I believe that students honestly do not realize they are continually late, forgetting textbooks and the list goes on, and it needs to be drawn to their attention.  I didn’t want to be seen as penalizing these actions but rather rewarding the good actions, hence the “√/” and “X/” system.

This behaviour modification handout is given out and collected each lesson.  I do this quickly by either having the students in set groups or rows with one student handing out and handing back the handout each lesson.  I want it to appear that I am not involved so the students basically manage it themselves. But they like the bonus ticks provided by me to reward good behaviour.  While I don’t appear strict, I keep an eye on things.  As a teacher, you know, you soon uncover two types of students - the good students and the trouble makers.  You usually only have a small handful of these students so it easy to keep track of what students are putting on the handouts.  It is not that important to monitor, it is more the threat of an “X”, and the embarrassment of a“√” when homework was not done only happens once (if you are unlucky).

I make the introduction of the handout a lesson.  I use terms like “First and family name”, “Underline your first name”, “What is the day you have this class” etc..  If a student comes late, that is used as an example for “L”, if a student talks, that is used as an example also, if a student does something good, like answer a question etc. he/she is rewarded with a bonus tick.  I find that while they do not actually understand my English, they certainly understand what I like and do not like within the first 15 minutes of the lesson to gain bonus ticks.  A copy of the handout I use is below; I change it to fit the class needs.  The comment section is where I make notes for the student if required, it has been useful on many occasions where I have had to fail a student.  I also take time write positive notes to students throughout the semester.

The handout can be downloaded HERE.