PROBATION CLASSES/PROGRAMS

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1. Strategy: Language of Responsibility

Application: Orientation to Probation Program

Educator: Karen Sondheimer, Learning Specialist, Shippensburg University, PA

Implementation: Have students write on 4”x6” cards an anonymous answer to the following question: “Why are you on probation this semester?” Collect the cards. Now distribute the Creator/Victim handout and introduce students to these concepts, explaining how to translate Victim Statements into Creator Statements by 1) demonstrating personal accountability and 2) creating a plan. Place students in groups of five and randomly distribute five of the 4”x6”cards to each group. Have students decide which of two piles to place each card: Creator statements and Victim statements. They are to translate any Victim statement, writing the Creator statement on the back of the card. In the large group, have each group read the cards that it chose as Victim statements and provide the translation into Creator language. Solicit feedback and comments from the class. Finally, have each group read statements considered to be Creator statements, explaining why. Solicit feedback and comments from the class.

2. Strategy: Wise Choice Process

Application: Advising students on probation

Educator: Michelle Johnson, Advisor, Missouri University of Science & Technology, MO

Implementation: The goal of this activity is to aid students on probation to arrive at a realistic view of their current situation, including how they got there and what they are going to do about it. To this end, create a handout that has the six steps of the Wise Choice Process printed on it. In a one-to-one conference, read through the steps with your advisee, providing clarification where needed. Then ask the student to both verbalize and write a response to each step. Make clear that this is a working document, so the student has the ability to revise responses as needed. Once completed, the document (especially the commitments) serves as an agreement between the student and advisor. Schedule subsequent meetings to review the student’s progress and revise the plan, if needed. The student keeps the original; make a copy for your own files. Advise the student that how well they fulfill their agreed-upon actions will affect the recommendation you make for readmittance to their academic department.

3. Strategy: Outer Behaviors of Successful Students & 32-Day Commitment

Application: Class for students on probation

Educator: Roxie Ray, Director, First Year Studies, University of Bridgeport, CT

Implementation: Begin by brainstorming the outer behaviors of successful students. One student acts as the recorder at the board as student call out all of the behaviors they can think of that fall into this category—whether they exhibit them or not. There is no discussion or censorship at this time. After students have exhausted all of the behaviors they can think of, have them go through and edit the list, weeding out duplicates, those they decide don’t fit, and possibly adding some behaviors they forgot in the first round. Encourage discussion where appropriate to their understanding of the outer behaviors of successful students. After the list has been finalized, have each student choose one new behavior s/he wants to adopt for 32 days. Ask students to maintain a journal where they record their experiences with their 32-day commitment. After 32 days, have an in-class review of their journal entries. Finally, assign them to write a reflection paper on the whole experience.

4. Strategy: Wise Choice Process

Application: Fresh Start Workshop (for students on academic probation)

Educator: Susan Spencer, Coordinator, Learning Support, Red Deer College, Alberta, CN

Implementation: Create a variety of case studies, each demonstrating an unwise choice that an anonymous student made that led to academic problems at your institution. After students read these case studies, explain the Wise Choice Process. Then have students work in pairs applying it to the case study of their choice (perhaps they pick one depicting a problem similar to their own). After the pairs discuss, invite students to share their ideas with the large group. Students then work individually applying the Wise Choice Process to a problem they have had that affects their academic performance. Have students make a copy of Steps 5 & 6 to hand in. Then they make a future appointment for an individual conference to discuss their plan and its outcome.

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