Learning Skills Strategies: Initiative

The faculty at our school gathered and responded to the prompt: What effective classroom strategies help develop the learning skill of initiative? Results from faculty brainstorm session, 20 November 2018

· Be supportive when students take risks in a discussion

· Notice and comment when students come to daily academic assistance without prompting

· Give quiet reflective time at the onset of class

· Allow warm-up time | get into the space

· Have one-on-one conversations

· Foster leadership roles

· Explain what initiative is and show examples of how to display it

· Prior to assessments, state in class that, if you will be away, you will need to demonstrate initiative to re-organize or submit early

· Provide opportunities in HPE for set-up or take-down of equipment

· Use the learning skills terms and language within your lessons

· Support out-of-class enrichment work “if you’re interested in pushing yourself, try this.”

· Use language in class to identify initiative

· Highlight the “advocate for self” point, this will help others to follow

· Encourage proper process for catching up on missed work

· *** Ask open-ended questions to generate dialogue and insight

· Do not respond to students lacking initiative

· Being self-conscious may be the underlying root of initiative; could small group conversations be a more welcoming environment for students who appear to lack initiative?

· Allow for small groups where furniture allows

· Make it clear where to be found for academic assistance, including alternative locations

· Make clear what academic assistance is and how to best use it

· Train students how to ask specific questions

· DLP – Describe, Label and Praise | help students recognize the behavior

· Support: acknowledge that showing initiative isn’t always easy and praise when it occurs

· There is an element of ‘you can lead a horse….”

· On assignments, allow students to choose how to present the final product

· Front-load success criteria and allow student choice into how learning will be demonstrated

· Shares and pairs | offering opportunities for different sharing formats

· Keep students curious | take outside, relate to real world, relate to student experience

· Scaffold ‘offering ideas in class’ by having students prepare questions and notes before a discussion

· Support students ‘asking for clarification and assistance’ – prompt students and remind them when/how to do this

· Teaching students how to seek help – help students understand the importance of coming for extra help with specific questions

· Student-centered approach to learning

· Pin/remind students when you are on evening duty to allow them to seek help

· Try to partner one who shows initiative with one who does not

· Give choice – allow choice of research topics that students are interested in

· Give more student input into ISP’s – type, rubric, topics

· Hold conversations with students at the beginning of class to prompt participation

· Chunk assignments so students have a place to start

· Give time in class to start assignments and circulate the room (kids more likely to ask question if you are walking by)

· Provide opportunities for student self-reflection (Google Form)

· Promote explicit celebration of initiative taking | “I applaud your initiative” | “I appreciate your initiative” | “Way to take initiative!”

· Scaffold lessons/assignments to offer opportunities to show initiative

· Have students estimate how long it will take for them to start a task – is this accurate? How long did it take?

· Don’t use laptops in the classroom | or at least close all tabs

· Think-Pair-Share

· Reminders to come to academic assistance (advocate for self)

· Ask and give time

· Allow different methods for answering

· Don’t fill the void after a question is asked to the class, allow time to answer

· If a student knows they are missing a class, encourage coming to academic assistance/asking teacher for notes ahead of time

· Make academic assistance/you as approachable as possible

· Help students plan ahead when they are missing class