With the most recent versions of Ontario’s Elementary Provincial Report Card and the use of a Progress Report Card each fall came the emphasis of the importance of Learning Skills and Work Habits. This section of both types of reports is given priority by being positioned first and given most space for individualized teacher comments.
There are six essential areas of focus for Ontario students: Responsibility, Organization, Independent Work, Collaboration, Initiative and Self-Regulation, and the development of these skills have a significant impact on the success children have in school and later in life. Learning skills and work habits are evaluated using age-appropriate expectations and a four level system, as indicated in the image above.
The marks for learning skills and work habits are often where great changes can be made by students in a short time. Regardless of intellectual ability, illness, etc., these skills are all about managing oneself and one’s responsibilities. They will be consistently called upon throughout high school, post-secondary education, careers, relationships and life in general.
Getting a ‘G’ (Good) or even an ‘E’ (Excellent) is achievable for many children in the area of Responsibility, for example.
In kindergarten, responsibility means that a student puts his things where they belong and helps put the toys away at tidy-up time. By grade two, a responsible student is returning library books and homework on time, tidying up her desk after eating and remembering to switch from indoor to outdoor shoes independently at recess time.
Educational achievement levels have changed over the past few decades. Not many students achieve straight ‘A’s anymore, but there continue to be stories of children being bribed for them. Setting goals of responsibility, collaboration and self-regulation with kids by motivating them with pride provides a bright vision for the future.
Coming up: Why write? Writing for real purposes.
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