Too often we hold policies and enforce rules because they solve an immediate need; but sometimes they simultaneously create new obstacles for the very students that need the clearest path to success or are in direct conflict with our stated beliefs.  Take this self-audit on the alignment of your beliefs and policies.

The following questions are related to a recent post, 17 Policies that Inadvertently Disrespect Students.

  • Do you believe that students learn at different paces?
    • Do your late work policies respect this?
    • Does your deadline policy line up?
    • Does your re-take policy take this into account?
    • Is your “opportunity cost” to re-take too high?
    • Does your timing of the assessment event agree with your belief?
    • Do you put a deadline on learning?
  • Do you believe that students learn in different ways?
    • What happens when a student “fails” a test?
    • Is there always an option for an alternative assessment?
    • Does your use of homework respect this?
    • Does your instruction respect this?
  • Do you believe teachers should also teach respect?
    • Are you actually teaching respect or punishing lack of respect?
    • Are you modeling respect?  Really?
    • Is your definition of “respect” just submissive obedience?
  • Do you believe that students make innocent mistakes?
    • What happens when a student forgot to silence their cell phone?
    • What happens if a student misplaces a piece of paper?
    • If a student is having a bad day, do they get punished for it?
    • If a student is acting out due to boredom, what’s your solution?
    • In your classroom, what is the culture of making mistakes?
    • Is an honest mistake treated the same as a purposeful transgression?
  • Do you believe that the grade should represent what a student knows and is able to do with your content?
    • How does turning in something on-time represent knowledge or ability in your content?
    • How does attendance demonstrate ability with the content?
    • How does a deadline educate you on their ability?
    • How does “neatness” or “creativity” on a project show a level of mastery?
    • How does the amount of homework show how much a student is able to do on an assessment?
    • How does classroom behavior demonstrate their abilities with the content?
  • Do you believe that anyone truly wants to not be successful?
    • When a student appears “apathetic,” what do you do?
    • How does the “we can’t do anything until they want to” philosophy measure up to this?
    • What other reasons might exist that a student might look like they don’t want to be successful?
  • Do you believe that students should be able to explore hobbies and interests?
    • Does your homework policy respect the time a student needs to do this?
    • What about the “hidden homework” of studying, reteaching, and reading that is required to be successful?
  • Do you believe that some students’ homes are not conducive to work?
  • Do you believe that not all students have equal access to technology?
    • Does a student without technology access at home have equal requirements of work?
    • Does a student without technology access at home have equal access to the material?

4 thoughts on “Self-Audit of Rules & Policies

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