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Disaffected Y9 working at L8 - how can I meet his needs?

Discussion in 'English' started by penguin8336, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. penguin8336

    penguin8336 New commenter

    I am looking for some advice on how to stretch and motivate a young man in my Y9 mixed ability English class. In lessons he avoids work and can be very silly. I've spent quite a lot of time talking to him and his mum, and we've established he does this as a mechanism to avoid standing out from his peers, and that often - in all lessons, not just mine - he is just bored. We agreed that for 2 particular pieces of work - one in class and one at home - he would work to the absolute best of his ability. And he has. I genuinely cannot fault his work. It is superb, with a clear voice and crafted with a skill I would give alot to have myself. Without question he achieves a top level 8 in both pieces.
    But how do I keep him motivated and enthused and stretched? I will flag it up to head of dept and head of year, but they in reality won't do alot. We aren't good as a school at stretching the top. We do have a G&T coordinator but she doesn't do anything.
    I feel this boy could access A level work with no extra teaching.
    What do I do??!
     
  2. penguin8336

    penguin8336 New commenter

    I am looking for some advice on how to stretch and motivate a young man in my Y9 mixed ability English class. In lessons he avoids work and can be very silly. I've spent quite a lot of time talking to him and his mum, and we've established he does this as a mechanism to avoid standing out from his peers, and that often - in all lessons, not just mine - he is just bored. We agreed that for 2 particular pieces of work - one in class and one at home - he would work to the absolute best of his ability. And he has. I genuinely cannot fault his work. It is superb, with a clear voice and crafted with a skill I would give alot to have myself. Without question he achieves a top level 8 in both pieces.
    But how do I keep him motivated and enthused and stretched? I will flag it up to head of dept and head of year, but they in reality won't do alot. We aren't good as a school at stretching the top. We do have a G&T coordinator but she doesn't do anything.
    I feel this boy could access A level work with no extra teaching.
    What do I do??!
     
  3. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I notice you've observed he doesn't want to stand out from his peers as do many bright pupils. My own child rapidly acquired the 'art' of acting the fool during lessons to keep up his 'street cred' & doing well at the homework tasks to show his ability. There was an agreement not to return his marks in front of his peers.
    This is a problem for many G &T youngsters today. If he's capable of doing GCSE early I would ask the school whether it might be possible for him to sit exams early as part of 'his enhancement programme' well out of sight of his peers?
     
  4. annie2010

    annie2010 Occasional commenter

    It seems that this student is in an environment where his gifts aren't appreciated- except by you.
    Would it be possible to discuss this with SLT? Maybe he could work with a higher year group, then he is less likely to lose street cred. among his peers and waste time clowning about.
    He is lucky to have a teacher like you who recognises his talents.
     
  5. OP, I'm really sorry to do this, but you are an English teacher . Do you have problems with your space bar, or do you not know that 'a lot' is actually two words?[​IMG]
     
  6. Zadok1

    Zadok1 New commenter

    Have you thought about having a 'wall newspaper' (poly pockets on the wall to put articles into and change over easily). You could introduce it to the whole class and explain that when they have completed set tasks they can write their own articles. If you have time at the end of a scheme of work you can give them a lesson or two so that everyone can have a go.

    You can pitch it so that you have a sport page, a music page, a games review, puzzle etc... whatever interests them. You can set up a box with a folder for each pupil, when they finish their set task they get to do the work of their own choice. I tried this with a mixed ability set years ago and it virtually ran itself. When a piece is complete they submit it to the editor's folder. You could ask your high ability pupil and perhaps one other to be the editors and they will choose what goes on the wall for half a term (keeping an eye out that they're being fair, but giving them responsibility often pays off).

    It can also be a really useful for home work etc. If you are reading a book, watching a film, acting a play... ask them to review a character, the whole thing etc... the best get put on the news wall for a few days. If you have a reward system you could link it to getting work displayed. It is important that you ensure that the lower ability ones have the chance to get work in there now and then obviously but it can be a good motivator for the higher ability students. I know this boy doesn't want to stand out but if he's choosing what ends up in on the wall you're giving him the option to choose.

    Just as another possibility have you thought of asking him and maybe a couple of other students to buddy weaker students? When I taught mixed ability I encouraged my students to be very open about their abilities... we would talk about how some people were better at sport, others maths etc... and in the English room how some could read better than write and others are much better at communication and so on (invariably we all talked about how I can't spell when I write on a board). Initially I would set groups for them explaining that they needed a good reader, a good writer, someone who could feedback to the class and a good leader... after a while they could set their own groups. The stronger pupils would ask to work with weaker ones when they had finished their work. I only recall one parent questioning this and I explained that in order for them to explain the task and assist someone else they had to think about and understand the task at a much higher level. By the way this wasn't a 'nice' school in a leafy suburb. It was a school coming out of special measures in a pretty rough area. Other staff noticed how nice the atmosphere was with the group as well... they genuinely supported each other and valued their different skills... they even did balancing exercises at the start of lessons for the dyslexic pupil after I showed them an article that suggested it would help.
     

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