Rights and Responsibilities: Learning Contract

Written by: Dr. Volker Ecke with Dr. Christine von Renesse

Rights and Responsibilities: Learning Contract

In addition to modeling and embodying our expectations in class, a Learning Contract can make our respective roles and responsibilities explicit and allow students to make a conscious commitment to learning in this class by signing it. For an example, consider "Learning Coach" Julian Fleron's "Our Mathematics Class: Right and Responsibilities".

This contract highlights:

  • You have to be here because you want to learn.
  • I am here because I want to teach.
  • Everything is learning.
  • Learning is not easy.
  • Learning requires an open mind.
  • Learning is your responsibility (you need to want to learn).
  • "The goal of teaching is learning, not teaching." (Hugo Rossi)
  • I will demand a great deal of you in our class. I will demand a great deal of myself as well.
  • "Mathematics is a process of constructing knowledge, not acquiring it." (Susan Ohanian)
  • "The only way to learn mathematics is to do mathematics." (Paul Halmos)
  • Harassment of any type will not be tolerated.
  • Students in this classroom can accomplish as much as any student anywhere.

Students are asked to sign this learning contract. Having the rights and responsibilities spelled out and acknowledged explicitly can help later in the semester if issues arise.

Another way to introduce these ideas can be in the form of a personal introduction, as we see in Christine von Renesse's first class.