These instructions are designed to help teachers who are preparing to teach remotely for at least part of the school year—or who are already engaged in remote learning—create two contracts with their classes, one for in-person learning and one for remote learning.
Contracting is an effective strategy for making your classroom a reflective and respectful community. It is the process of openly discussing with your students expectations about how classroom members will engage with each other and with the learning experience. Since remote learning deeply affects the ways in which members of a class communicate and connect with each other and their teacher, it is important to create a version of your class contract that addresses the different circumstances involved in remote learning so that students can feel engaged, valued, respected, and heard whether you are meeting in person or virtually.
Facing History teachers have found that effective class contracts typically include several clearly defined rules or expectations, as well as ideas for how the class will respond if students do not fulfill their obligations as members of the classroom community. There are many ways to proceed with developing a classroom contract, and we encourage you to adapt this process to meet the needs of your students and your learning environment.
Note to Teacher: Questions to Consider
Before creating a remote-learning contract with your students, you may find it useful to consider the following questions:
- What norms should there be concerning technology use? How should technology be used to promote learning and engage with others? How can it be a distraction?
- What should students do when they feel as if they need more support, either emotionally or academically?
- When are students expected to be available? The teacher? For example, are there times of day when teachers and students can expect quick replies? Are there times of the day or night when teachers and students should not be contacted?
- How can a student raise a concern with the teacher about an issue that arose during unmonitored group or pair work with classmates?
- What norms should govern synchronous remote sessions? For example, how should students use the chat function or raise a question? Are there specific district guidelines about when students should turn their video feature on or off?
If you are teaching in a face-to-face setting, view our Contracting teaching strategy.