Monday, May 2, 2011

Coachable, engaged students

I am sure that I would not get much debate that high achievement, regular attendance, appropriate behaviour and graduation rates begin in a classroom. Not just any classroom, but a classroom of students who are coachable, engaged, and have an interest in learning. Yet many remain disengaged.

Currently I am the Coordinator of Fanshawe College’s Fast Forward Program and am working with a handful of students who are committed to changing their condition and making a difference in their own lives. I am charged with the task of assisting them with their situations and helping give them the tools to navigate their own life issues, re-enter the school system and have a respectful voice to advocate for their own needs toward achievement, graduation and pathways to success.

In general, I have learned to motivate my students by exploring one question with them: what one or two changes could we make to improve your achievement in school toward graduation and pathways to success? Then I listen carefully to their responses. My answer: I tweak my modules to meet their needs.

The key is that the students do not adapt to me or my curriculum, but I adapt the learning opportunities and the curriculum to them. I have learned that it is vital that to motivate my students I adjust the curriculum from their point of view. I am responsible to know what makes students tick. To move students to a higher level of achievement, to get them to graduate and on the pathway to success is an adventure.
What’s your story?

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