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Student/Teacher agreements are on the rise as a result of the 21st century initiative of making classrooms student-centered, and to make students ultimately the leaders of their own learning. Since this has to be done with ethical treatment and understanding that the learning environment is one of mutual respect, teachers create clauses that create a formal bond with their students. The implication is that the rules will be followed to continue the bond of trust and professionalism between the student and the teacher.
However, a strong suggestion is that the basic copyright rules are posted in the classroom so that the student can refer to them. For example,
- how to cite,
- how many pages can be copied from a book,
- how much of a quote can be exacted on a written document,
- how to express our thoughts like a famous author without copying the author's own voice.
Once the rules are CLEAR and visible the chances of copyright will be less. Then, it will be ideal to start a contract.
The wording of a copyright contract must include:
- 1. That the students compromise to use their own creativity, their own thinking, or their own point of view to express themselves.
- 2. That the creativity, thinking, and words of other people will be cited as said or done by such person, and not by the student.
- 3. That the student will ask if there is a misunderstanding about the difference between using information and copying information.
- 4. That the student will go by the copyright rules posted in the classroom prior to publishing any work.
- 5. That this contract is binding and that the academic progress of the student is directly linked to abiding by this contract.
Change the wording to first person and add a box to check. For example, the contract would look similar to this:
"I promise to use my own thinking, my own creativity, and my own words to express myself"
"I will not use the thinking, creativity, or words of other people to express myself, or to claim as my own" etc.
Checking the boxes makes the student responsible and aware that a contract is in place and that it must be followed. Have the student and teacher sign it and keep it for records.
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