Motivation …

How do you motivate low ability, low motivated 15 and 16 year olds who have formed negative views of your subject over the years and carry all those prejudices into your lesson though you’ve never taught them? Add to that some drug abuse, behaviour problems elsewhere and lessons after lunch and you certainly don’t get a recipe for an easy life.

What have I tried?
– delivering content entirely through real world contexts
– rely heavily on practical explorations of topics
– ask challenging ‘big picture’ questions
– engage students in individual learning conversations
– death by worksheet
– tarsia activities
– group projects
– heavily ict laden units

To what avail?
Not much. I dread these lessons as they bring me face to face with a group of children I haven’t been able to get through to. The outcome is one that spirals downwards as I am convinced it won’t work and they are convinced I hate them. Have been trying really hard to build relationship and have high expectations, not working quite so well yet.

I push on and try something new next lesson. While maintaining the routines thoughout, right? That’s “best practice”? I don’t know that I know any more.

What a negative post!

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Interesting New York Times Article

Interesting article about whether training teachers or paying them more is the best way to go.

Some interesting points about MKT (Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching) – evidently teachers who score higher on this knowledge achieve better results [see Deborah Ball]. Evidently, no closet to knowing how to ‘teach’ this knowledge though, so just another measure to see whether the teachers you already have are able to do their jobs effectively.