Sunday, September 27, 2009

Year 10 motivation, Citadels & Singstar

It's been noticed that year 10's can sometimes lack motivation.  Yelling at them can work for awhile (but unfortunately an authoritative style is not my style of teaching). I aim to get them to that point where they want to do well.  Success is a great motivator - but it's hard to achieve meaningful success without some motivation in the first place - a real "Catch 22" situation.  Turning around truanting and disinterested students can be a real challenge.

We have some extrinsic motivators as part of school behaviour management policy - such as the gold note we send home and the reward events at the end of term, but these are generally for the achievers in the school and don't help the unmotivated reach their potential.

So, I thought about it and set about building other motivators into the programme based around their interests.  I discussed with my group that I would run a Singstar competition on the last day of term, if students put in a big effort to work up until then.  I also suggested that if they reached a 50% average on the next test I would buy pizza.  I set about being more positive in class and discussing 'what if's' when students put in more effort.  I started encouraging students to do online tutorials to help themselves achieve higher grades.

Low and behold, in the last week of term, I needed to add desks to my room to hold all the students (I didn't even realise I was short until then as I rarely had a full class - albeit it has been growing with new students all term). Students actively wanted to know when the next test was, turned up on the day, bugged me until they were marked and wanted to know what their marks were! I nearly fell out of my chair.

I've also been trialling a card game "Citadels" with differing groups of students - it has been a hit with kids in the senior school of varying age groups and ability levels - from Ed support to Calc students. It takes about 5 minutes to learn, requires social interaction, forward thinking, decision making and is a bit of fun.  Even the Mrs likes it.

Maybe the ideas have some potential.

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