Holding Students Accountable for Practice Time6 min read
In this post, we will look at how you can use Collabra to hold students accountable for their practice time.
This post is Part 2 in our Customer Success series. You can read all of the posts in the series by following the links listed below:
When using the Collabra platform to hold your students accountable for their practice time, we suggest doing the following:
Announce in advance (in the syllabus or when beginning with new students) that practice time is part of the expectation / grade. If applicable, provide details on the weight that practice time carries with the overall grade. Of course, it seems obvious to us as educators that a student MUST practice, but setting the standard up front in writing seems to make the commitment even more concrete.
Set a required benchmark with the student for weekly practice minutes / hours. Ask the student to sign off on their commitment.
Check the student’s practice log with them EVERY week when they come for their lesson. Deliver the grade for their efforts weekly – on the spot! This encourages the student to take their practicing seriously and helps keep them aware of their overall standing. It may only take one low grade on practice efforts for the week to wake a student up to the reality that they won’t pass the course, or keep their place in the studio without doing the work.
Collabra CRO Leora Nosko regularly uses Collabra with her private students. She has had great results when using the Collabra platform to hold her students accountable for their practice.
As a private instructor, I simply tell students and parents that the practice requirement exists. This requirement is customized for each student and their goals. I inform students that if they consistently do not meet their goal, I will transfer them to another instructor. Instead of positioning this as a punitive type of threat, I explain that if I don’t inspire them to practice, maybe I’m not a good fit for them as a coach, and they would be better off with someone else.
This worked beautifully with my student Kyle E. – a young voice student going through a massive voice change and struggling to find his mix. His range had become extremely limited and he admittedly was “not practicing much” in between lessons.
After setting the practice requirement, Kyle immediately showed improvement. After a few months, he admitted during one of his lessons that the required exercises were becoming easier for him and he had definitely made progress. I don’t believe we ever would’ve made this progress without the use of an accountability mechanism. It wasn’t until Kyle knew that I could check in on his practicing that he began consistently doing the work – and the results followed!
Another way I encourage my students to stay motivated is to offer them small rewards (stickers, candy, etc.) for meeting their goals. That may sound like a trite method for adult students, but I assure you – adults want to receive praise and rewards from their instructors. When I returned to piano lessons at age 28, I was still thrilled every time my instructor would stick the gold star on my lead sheet. (Of course, we both laughed about it, but I absolutely LOVED it.)
-Leora Nosko, Collabra CRO