1. Guidelines for engaging students in the first class
This document, provides some guidelines for engaging your students from the first class.
2. Learning Contracts
A learning contract can be agreed between you, the lecturer, and your students. Learning contracts can help to stimulate student ownership of learning. They can also help students reflect on their learning goals and help them to see a learning pathway to achieve these goals.
A learning contract can include the following elements:
- student expectations of the module
- student expectations of their classmates
- student expectations of the lecturer
- student commitment to attendance, participation, reading, etc
- student concerns about the module and how s/he will deal with these concerns.
Please note that this is not meant to be prescriptive in any way, i.e. as a ‘template to be implemented’. You should adapt it for your own purposes. You should consider your own teaching context, including the level of your students (e.g. UG/PG), the specific requirements of your discipline and the nature of the module you are teaching, including the learning objectives.
You might also consider negotiating the content of the learning contract with your students. What do they think is important enough to be included in it and what can you all agree on as a learning community?
Be careful to introduce the learning contract carefully. You want it to be seen as a collaborative exercise rather than something that is imposed or seen as a legalistic exercise. You also want to allow for student development and growth, so allow for some flexibility.
For more on learning contracts see:
Hunt, L., Chalmers, D., & Macdonald, R. (2012). Effective classroom teaching. In University teaching in focus (pp. 21-37). Routledge. Page 30.