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student contracts/agreement

Discussion in 'Music' started by dropje, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. dropje

    dropje New commenter

    Just wondered if anyone has a contract/agreement to be signed by students in Sept. to ensure they respect stuff. I need something. The spoken word is not enough, or something around the lines of Health and Safety.

  2. dropje

    dropje New commenter

    Just wondered if anyone has a contract/agreement to be signed by students in Sept. to ensure they respect stuff. I need something. The spoken word is not enough, or something around the lines of Health and Safety.

  3. We don't have specifically a contract relating to music equipment so can't help with that. To be honest, dependent on which level of schooling you are talking about I don't know that it would be very effective for you. If equipment is broken by a pupil, I don't know that having a contract would make it any easier to get them to pay for replacements, especially if they're under 18. My students have to work with an array of very expensive equipment. In the one incident of deliberate damage of a serious nature I simply held an assembly and said that the perpetrator had 1 day to come forward, after that I would be offering bribes for people to give me information and their name. If they came forward themselves the discipline measure I took and the amount they were charged would take their admission into consideration. If I had to investigate who it was I would seek to remove them from the course. This worked a treat!
  4. Sorry, I forgot to mention the most important bit. We use an electronic signing out system so that anything they have taken from our technical store is out in their name. We also have a technician to facilitate this. That doesn't apply to the generic stuff, e.g. Drum kits, keyboards etc but them I'm working in FE so they are better at understanding that it's 'their' equipment and that if anything gets broken it will be all of them that suffer as they won't be able to complete the work, a point which I re-iterate a lot.
  5. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    I agree. This sort of thing should be covered by the school's general policies with regard to non-accidental breakages by pupils. Having a specific document for music equipment could easily lead to barrack-room lawyers among the pupils refusing to pay for trashing the MFL's language lab or the Science department's test tubes because "they didn't make us sign a contract like what the head of music did".
  6. Beware of any sort of "rules" document/contract/poster that is too specific, it lends itself too easily to the riposte "snot in the rules sir/miss".
    I used an "essay" that the malcontents copied out that started with "I am writing this because I have not taken proper care of the equipment" etc and that carried on as why this was important. Very effective after the event, it keeps them quiet, occupied and jealous of the others having all the fun. Repeat offenders become repeat copiers until the message gets through. You can tell them to do it at home and their copy is returned signed by a P/G and/or HOY if you want to be a bit nastier. Do reward as well as punish though.
    On a broader note, why is the spoken word not enough? Perhaps you need to look at your classroom management. Talk to colleagues, especially in practical subjects, who get from the students what you want. If there aren't any - think about moving school
  7. If you need this sort of contract with your students things must be dire!

    I doubt that your SMT would back any such written contract and to force students into such an agreement would create ill feeling with your students who clearly would see this as a total lack of trust on your part.

    There is nothing wrong in having clearly displayed expectations with regard to the use of the Music Department.

    If instruments are abused prevent the abusers from using them and follow it up with Form tutor/ Year head.
    If the problem is that peristent see if these serial offenders can be removed and work elsewhere with the support of SMT.

    Instruments are tools and expensive and as such need to be respected and valued - something that has to be instilled in students from the very start.

    A contract will not change a thing.
  8. Similarly to mzuzu, I begin the year (and any tasks with new equipment) with a discussion about safe practice, and give regular reminders about appropriate behaviour. If a class get too boisterous and have the potential to damage something, we sit down and write in silence for a few minutes. I make it totally clear that any further behaviour will have the same consequence. As such, very few groups need to do this more than once.

    If you are struggling, it might be worth thinking through how you approach practical tasks. Do you begin the lesson with everyone sat quietly? Do all the pupils know how to use the equipment sensibly, and how to store it? Do you allow time at the end of the lesson to pack away properly and check all the equipment - that is normally where I fall down; if I lose track of time and pack up in a rush, any damage isn't noticed until after the class have left.

    I hope this helps.
  9. People in glass houses! You suggest that the problem might be the classroom management of the OP when you yourself have had problems with the issue they've raised! Was it your lack of classroom management in that instance?
  10. In a 1st year of high school year 9 class (where this was part of behaviour management) there was no option to "remove them from the course" These are classes of 25+ where there were no TAs, they were reserved for important lessons like English and Maths. 1 teacher 5- 6 groups a need for student self-discipline, statemented/SEN children, non-streamed. I assume the OP is from this situation not FE.
    The "essay" idea was used 1, remove them temporarily from potentially damaging equipment. 2, to give them something hopefully instructional to do without recourse to exclusion from the classroom and once completed could resume the practical work 3, meant I could concentrate on the workers and not have to punish the whole class by stopping the practical. 4 meant group work in different locations could continue 5etc, etc. You're right it was after the spoken word was not enough or more correctly needed a little reinforcement. I was attempting to give the OP some ideas and, like other posters, suggesting that a contract was not the best route to go down
    You can also note the past tense - I don't do this type of teaching any more.

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