Put in Practice – Assignments, Homework

  1. Provide chores

Teachers should not start paying their students an allowance, but assigning chores during the school day can be a good way to teach initiative. Each student should be responsible for a different task at the beginning of each week.

Some students might have to water plants three times during the week, whereas others might have to reorganize the library once. If you want this to seem like the real world, put some students in teams while others work alone. However, each week you should change the dynamic so all students experience different scenarios. You decide what “reward” you want to give to your students for doing these jobs.

By explaining that you’re all part of the same team and everyone needs to contribute, you’ll create a clean, well-organized, and productive work environment. If you’re trying to mimic a real-world experience, the “reward” might be extra credit, a homework pass, or access to some kind of group reward, such as holding class outside, going on a field trip, or working on a special project.

2. Encourage students to organize kind events or other community events

Taking initiative is wonderful, but when initiative is used solely for self-serving reasons, it can feel hollow. Encourage students to organize events and programs for others, school clean-up days, and community-building events, as well as to be empathetic towards others. Through this, they will see how taking initiative can benefit them personally, professionally, as well as in their school, community, and beyond.

Show them that initiative can help them but also others!

3. First assignment of the year

As some first-day-to-school question – after telling your students about your subject – ask them what they want to achieve, and what they want to learn from you. Let them present a summary or a presentation of what their goals are, and let them connect it to their work.

Come together with your students midway through your time with them to evaluate how it’s going and what they’ve accomplished so far. This is done to motivate students to show more initiative and to teach them how to evaluate themselves.
As they are ending their time with you, ask if there is anything they would like to learn or if they would like your suggestions to help them reach their goal.

At the end, evaluate how much they achieved and how they achieved it, along with whether it was helpful to them in setting a goal and evaluating it.

4. Connecting initiative to their work

Assign your students the “homework” of observing their workplace and identifying any problems or ways to improve things (For instance, it could be something as simple as better separation of garbage). They should prepare a short presentation or assignment in which they describe and define the problem or issue they are dealing with, and what their solution is.

Come together as a class to evaluate and discuss the ideas that the students have. Give them the task of showing initiative and to tell their findings at their workplace.

Note: Be sure to notify their responsible person at work so no one feels offended.

5. Making them aware of the initiative

Give your students the task to observe themselves at work and to document or note how often they show initiative. Anything without being asked. Afterward come together as a class and talk about the things students have come up with without being asked.

This is meant to motivate them to show initiative at work and it gives them another point of view on what can be seen as initiative.