How do I get my students to be responsible for their learning?

I need to find a way to do less and have the kids do more. I feel as if I am putting in all the effort. I have students come in 2x a week to complete missing work or test corrections. I provide review sessions prior to summative exams. I mark work that comes in on time and then I have to deal with the dribs and drabs that trickle in over the next weeks. It is sucking the life out of me and I feel less creative int he classroom because of it. Help, please.

5 thoughts on “How do I get my students to be responsible for their learning?

  1. Oh, I so hear you on this one! I HATE marking the crap (and yes it usual is crap) that comes in late, bit by bit. I can’t stand sitting down to a marking basket filled with one of these, and two of those, and having to pull out old marking rubrics that I put back in my binder weeks ago. I also hate chasing kids for their work in the first place. Grrrrr!
    Sorry I have nothing to contribute in terms of solutions or even suggestions. I just wanted you to know you are not alone and that I understand your frustration completely! πŸ™‚

  2. There seem to be a couple of questions embedded in the one. The first question, “How do I get my students to be responsible for their learning?” could be examined from a number of different angles. For me, the idea of students taking responsibility for their learning speaks to student engagement. If students are engaged in what they’re learning, they will naturally take more ownership for their learning. I think that higher engagement would also impact the timeliness that students turn in work. If you feel like you’re putting in all the effort, it might be time to look at the types of assignments you’re giving and whether you’re getting the most bang for your buck for each assignment. If your students are fully engaged but are not turning work in on time, this is a completely different issue that would need to be dealt with separately.

    The other question that seems embedded in your question is, “How can I deal with all the marking I have to deal with?” Although there is no easy answer to this one or the mountains of work that accumulate so quickly, there are several things I’ve just started doing that is making a difference.
    – Using rubrics has cut down a lot of time and confusion about what I actually expect from my students.
    – My students mark themselves for almost all assignments they turn in (using rubrics). This makes them accountable for their own work and forces them to consider the criteria before turning work in to me.
    – I’ve stopped giving grades for student work. I’ll write comments and keep track of the assignments turn in (and they are expected to do all of the activities) but I’m only giving grades towards the end of the semester when students can demonstrate what they know and can do (summative assessment).

    I don’t know if any of this helps or if I’m missing the point. I hope you’re able to find something that works for you and to get back into your groove! All the best!

  3. Such a struggle, this topic! I have yet to find a tried and true method that motivates all students… but I suppose that this shouldn’t be too surprising. Our high schools have experimented with so-called “i” days – where students who have not completed assignments must attend school and others get the day off. In my elementary school setting, we’ve experimented with motivational field trips and a “strike” system, wherein students who have not kept up-to-date with their work are not able to attend the trips. But this never motivates ALL the students. I like the comments above by “Altitude” regarding engagement, but believe that often the students ARE engaged, but have no sense of deadlines or true responsibility for their work. I think the key is to have a mixed bag of tools/consequences/strategies for late work, and use what works with individual students. Possibly having them draft up their own contracts to be signed by you and them – outlining their responsibilities. If they come up with it, they’ll have more ownership.

    • Thanks for your comments. I also believe that the students are engaged “in the moment” but then they are done and have moved on before the work is done. I continue to provide time in class to get the work done; I am realistic and realize that there is not much time for homework.

  4. I call this the battle of thirds. 1/3 of my MAth/Sci students do all of their work in class and always have homework done if they have a little. 1/3 of my group gets some done in class and often hand some of their work in late. The other 1/3, well…. you know. I try to provide simple options and solutions for all, but those who wish to comply will and some, no matter what the class composition still walk the fine line and risk their academic year. We too have tried “I” days, homework club, Math tutoring 1 day a week after school and I/we still search for new ideas at our Middle School. Some have perfect attendance and don’t seem to worried about grades that are going in the opposite direction. The motivation that I do see the most results from, comes from the good ol’ progress report. Man, do I see a lot of work then. Too bad it is of the late variety. Continue to encourage you teachers and keep your online homework pages up to date! Fingers crossed.

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