Shift the onus to them

This is a great article on classroom management:

Why shouldn’t students feel entitled? You’ve relieved them of responsibility.

Think about it. You assess by legislative fiat, document attendance, lord over technology, interact with students 24-7 via email or text, keep students on track via Blackboard or Canvas, treat students as customers, are blamed for grade inflation, fret over student evaluations and create syllabi that pass as legal briefs.

Via “On Them: Giving Students What They Want

When I attend meetings and hear teachers carry on about smartphones or brag about their draconian anti-plagiarism policies–like some kind of golden calf–they impress me as amateurish. Skilled teachers learn that hyper-vigilant policing is not a resourceful expenditure of energy. Creating situations that foster intrinsic motivation is a much more effective means of getting people to do what you want, which is at the core of the reverse psychology Bugeja employs in the article above.

Bugeja implements an approach that shifts all of the responsibility onto the students. He doesn’t care if they come to class; he sets aside an area in the classroom for them to use their phones. He doesn’t care if they take notes.

It’s a strategy that gives the unmotivated student all the rope he needs to hang himself. And when said student feels the noose tighten, you will have an intrinsically motivated student.

Without one word about what he is or isn’t doing with his smartphone.

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