The Effort Contract is designed to keep your child accountable for their effort. Many students that struggle in school do so not because they don’t desire to do well, but because they don’t know what it takes to do well. The Effort Contract gives the child the idea that effort is important in school and that if they develop a plan to increase their effort then they will be more likely to succeed.
The Effort Contract that we use is broken down into seven questions.
The first question, (What are some ways that you can do better in school?) gives your child the opportunity to evaluate their own school behavior. Our tutors will sit down with your child and discuss how the child currently performs in school and will suggest areas for improvement. The student will then be able to evaluate a variety of ways that they think they can perform better in school.
The second question, (What is your plan to become more successful?) gives the student an opportunity to develop a plan for success. Once our tutors have guided your child to answer the first question, they can then give recommendations on developing a plan for improvement. The student will then decide what he or she thinks is the best plan to become m0re successful.
The third question, (What are some problems that might keep you from completing your plan to become more successful?) allows students to understand potential roadblocks to their success. I have never met a student who did not want to succeed. Many students were immediately willing to put plans into action that would help them to do so, but something got in the way that deterred them from accomplishing their goals. By acknowledging potential roadblocks to success, students will realize that they can overcome those road blocks if they recognize what they are.
The fourth question, (How can you overcome potential problems for success?) allows students to be proactive in recognizing and dealing with problems. When they can recognize potential problems before they arise, then it makes sense to decide beforehand how to address those problems when they do arise. By developing a plan to overcome problems before they begin, students prepare themselves and face less anxiety and pressure when they are faced with difficult situations.
The fifth question, (How can I help you do better?) is critical to the development of a tutor/student or teacher/student relationship. It shows students that they are not in this alone. All students need support and encouragement. Having your student explain how you can help them is a big step. It builds trust and requires commitment by both parties. As a tutor or teacher you must listen to their answer completely and then have a discussion about the ways in which you are willing to help.
The sixth question, (How can your parents help you do better?) develops goals for parents. As a tutor of struggling students, I have found that it is just as important for parents to get involved in their child’s education as it is for the student. By having the student suggest ideas for their parents’ involvement in their education it allows for a dialogue to occur between the parent, child and tutor that gives momentum to a plan for success. Parents want to be helpful, but sometimes are not sure how they can help. The student knows the abilities of the parents and can suggest ways that would help them perform better in school.
The seventh question, (What consequences should happen if you do not follow through on your plan?) holds students accountable. The consequences should be real and of value to the student. But you should also ask the question, (What rewards should happen if you do follow through on your plan?) Both questions need to be asked and this holds the child accountable for both failure and success. With your guidance, they choose the punishments and rewards. You monitor them to make sure those consequences and rewards are acceptable for the educational plans that they have put in place.
The great thing about The Effort Contract is that it holds the student accountable to themselves. They develop an understanding that the way they were doing things can be improved by increasing their effort. I have found that this realization has an amazing impact on student achievement. When they realize that there are better ways to get things done, and implement a plan to do so, and then follow through with that plan, a transformation takes place. It is a fascinating situation to be a part of.
If you think that your child is struggling in school and can increase their academic effort consider hiring a tutor from The Tutoring Solution. We can evaluate their effort using our Effort Contract and encourage them to work harder in school.
For a copy of The Effort Contract that we use with our students, click on the following link: http://thecatutoringsolution.com/83/the-effort-contract/