One of the best tools for students to hold each other to account and have a healthy collaborative culture is the group contract. I draw a lot of attention to my students` dismissal process at the beginning of the school year, when we talk about liability. I want everyone to understand that the group contract must be taken seriously and that there are consequences if it is not complied with. The reality is that students do not want to be fired from their group and they do not want to have to carry out a whole project. That`s how they learn to work together and hold them to account. It might be helpful to ask students, “What things have you ever bothered about in group projects?” or “If you`re part of a team, what do you like most about your teammates?” The first pairs of times students establish group contracts, they are not strict enough and do not hold students as accountable as they or you want. It is part of the learning process. Remind students that at the next conclusion of a student contract, they want to think about the problems they have faced and try to write a contract to solve these problems. They will learn to write their contracts in a better and deeper way as they train and participate in this process. When a student does not complete his particular part of the activity until the deadline/time, he must come to class during lunch or after school to complete his part. Approve each contract before the students start. Keep students responsible for the contracts they have created throughout the project or activity.
Now, there are times when the student, who has not lived up to the expectations of his group, is not ready to work together and change his action. In these cases, they can be triggered by the group. Being fired means that the person is removed from the group and must complete the entire project himself. They cannot use any of the resources of the group they were in, but they still have the same deadlines and expectations as the others. And of course, they are rated at the same level as everyone else. And when that student is examined for collaboration (which we will talk about in Chapter 7), he gets a zero because he demonstrates his inability to collaborate. Students then discuss what they expect from each other throughout the group project. For the first time, a teacher can model or guide this discussion and talk about the type of agreements to be included in the contract. It could contain elements such as: How do you ensure that all students not only understand the group contract, but feel that it is their contract? When you work in a remote environment, student contracts ensure that all students know the expectations of their work.
Thus, students can fulfill the group contract: students then have a plan that often accepts a new start and the group can get back to work. Most of the time, and I want to talk about the highest time, this conflict resolution is a success. It is enough to draw the attention of most students to the fact that their actions concern everyone else, and they will do everything in their power to remedy them. Remember that we want peace, and sometimes we have to face the problem to achieve it. Some of the best collaborations I`ve ever had came after one of those heart-to-heart conversations. All of a sudden, everyone feels listened to and appreciated and therefore works harder and with more passion.