Thursday, April 5, 2012

4 Essentials For Every Student Check-In Meeting

Part of every goal setting plan should include an agreement to have regular and scheduled student check-in meetings.  I sometimes refer to these as "check points" and they serve to maintain motivation and examine progress.

While checking in is important, as important is going into those meetings with an established routine and clearly understood expectations for both you and the student.

This meeting may take on a variety of functions based on the goals, but there are four essential pieces that should be in place for each check-in.

1.  Highlights since last meeting

Each check-in should begin with asking the student to mention any specific highlight or notable occurrence that happened since the last meeting.  While the highlight may be directly related to the goals, it may not.  The purpose here is to start on a positive note; if it relates directly to attaining goals, even better.

2.  Feel about or evidence of progress

This is where you take the student's temperature about how they feel their progress is going.  It can also be a time for you to ask for evidence of progress, particularly if the highlight relates to the goal.

3.  Next steps

After reviewing progress, ask the student to tell you what they believe the next steps are towards reaching the goals.  One part of this step to establish is also to come to an agreement on what type of progress is reasonable for the time before your next meeting.  This is yet another way to build ownership of the goals.

4.  Your perspective

Now, the meeting isn't just you listening to the student.  At a reasonable point, make sure you have the chance to provide feedback from your perspective.  If you believe a student is getting off course or their ideas for the next steps are misaligned, this is your chance to work through it with the student.  Ultimately, you do not want to set yourself up to micromanage the process.  Rather, having an honest conversation about what you see and working to help the student see your insights as a resource to them is the key.

In the end, both you and the student should walk away having had a productive meeting from which both sides leave with clear expectations of the future and a framework upon which the next meeting is built.

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