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I'm losing them...

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by tastytortilla, Apr 30, 2018.

  1. expresslts

    expresslts New commenter

    Good evening everyone. I am wondering what others do in classes for pupils who just cannot/will not engage in anything. I am referring to an S2 (Y8) class in which I have a handful of pupils who are just not there to work. I have tried writing comments into their jotters to show what is unacceptable, I have provided differentiated work (such as a word list to access a reading) as well as completely separate remedial work which can be completed independently.

    I am at the end of my rope as I experience the same attitude and behavioural problems but I am being asked by principal teacher what I am doing wrong or what am I providing.

    It is wearing me down quite a bit.

    Thank you for any comments.
  2. parkert

    parkert New commenter

    Join the club! I don't know what we can do with those die-hard who won't even try the really easy, basic stuff. I just keep on at them and really encourage them and cajole them. I always use the line "You can do this" or "Yes you do. You do know this". It works sometimes
    Lara mfl 05 and polyglot91 like this.
  3. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    Yes, it'll be the teacher's fault, as usual. Your lessons aren't engaging enough; that sort of thing.
    I had a vile year 8 during a maternity leave. Video clips/ films and the computer room were the only things that held their interest. They nearly broke me! There were about 28 of them, and every one of them had problems of some sort - there should have been TA's in there with me. Just dreadful. I tried games, hands-on stuff, you name it.

    Apply the behaviour policy ruthlessly. It's them, not you.
  4. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Yes I recall whole groups ( timetables ) of difficult students ‘ doing ‘ languages ‘ . The lesson prep was seldom worth the outcome ( think Pareto’s Law ? ) and if something ‘ worked ‘ well one day it did not work on another. They all had agendas and baggage. Hard work and I am so glad those days are over for me . I feel for you and I doubt you are alone - little consolation I know ..
  5. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    The stuff of nightmares. Literally!
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  6. veverett

    veverett Occasional commenter

    As well as following the school's behaviour policy consistently and fairly, there are a few other things you can do. Do you get involved in anything the school offers outside lessons - clubs, sports, trips? You will see another side to pupils and build better relationships. In lessons, stay positive and make sure they know that every lesson you are there for a fresh start. Do they suspect you dread these lessons? Is there any opportunity (plenaries) for them to give you a glimpse of how they see the lessons? Pick up on anything that makes them feel that you are listening and doing things for them and with them. Can they be in charge of picking one part of the next lesson? Have you looked at activities where you set them working and quietly give them points (I've seen a cup on the table and the teacher puts straws in) for the way they are working, good questions, team work, initiative etc. You say most of the group are there to work. Make sure you enjoy working with them and don't spend all your time focussed on the ones you are not happy with at the moment. Try not to get dragged into just putting worksheets in front of them because you think anything more interactive would just not work. That can lead to a cycle where there really isn't any interest or learning and things get worse. Would they respond well to being in teams where you build in incentives and you can sit back a bit and observe how they respond. Would it help if you picked this up and documented it as an action research project, focusing on what you can learn from the experience, things you can try, things you observe and evaluate, other people's opinions. Hope there's something in there that might help!
  7. expresslts

    expresslts New commenter

    These are all very useful self-evaluating questions, thank you! All I can do is try!
    Lara mfl 05 and veverett like this.
  8. Elly40

    Elly40 New commenter

    I recently turned my teaching on its head and now have 20-30 mins of speaking work at the start of every lesson before date title etc are introduced. I have about 6 slides I use every lesson, some similar, some changed.
    I've found that the standard of work has vastly improved as has engagement
  9. BrightonEarly

    BrightonEarly Occasional commenter

    @Elly40 Good way to build confidence in speaking, especially for the GCSE picture tasks. How long are you lessons?
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  10. cathr

    cathr Occasional commenter

    An idea to fill one session: using their textbook, pick about 12 exercises. Class work in teams trying to complete as many exercises as possible with the highest possible score. Winning team gets 3 point reward on your database, runners up 2 points and so on ( depends how generous you are with points!). Exercises are done on small pieces of paper which team members bring to you to mark as they go along. You should anounce the mounting scores at regular intervals to encourage competitiveness.
    Along the same line, get students to prepare worksheets for younger classes, again using the exercises and activities they find in their textbook. More imaginitive students could invent their own activities ( I get students to fo this in teams, writing the exercises on 1/2 of A5 and gluing onto A3, filling the gaps with colours, drawings, speech bubbles etc)

    They also enjoy going through all the listening activities form the beginning of the textbook since, all of the sudden, it is all terribly easy and they score full marks! The pleasurwe of it!
  11. BrightonEarly

    BrightonEarly Occasional commenter

    My Y8 classes loved it when I delivered a lesson as a quiz. I chose the teams in advance and posted them on the board - different every time. They chose team names which were entered into my score sheet on the IWB. The rounds were then basically a standard lesson: vocabulary activity or coded words to introduce some key words; reading activity from the textbook (one named pupil per team was allowed to use a dictionary and report to the others - pick a normally disengaged or lazy pupil for this as the others will ask them to look up words); a listening activity from the textbook (perhaps change this to be a gaptext where pupils fill in missing words in the target language or in English); a picture round where pupils match pictures to text or sequence pictures to match a longer text and a writing activity (transcribe sentences read out by the teacher or a volunteer; or place words back into a gaptext). Make a big deal out of the marking, collecting and addition of points after each round (appoint one member if each team to watch another team mark their answers and call them judges). Display the names of the winning team on an electronic or standard noticeboard around the school and on the IWB at the start of the next lesson.
    Idiomas11 likes this.
  12. BrightonEarly

    BrightonEarly Occasional commenter

    Just realised that Cathr posted the same idea!
  13. cathr

    cathr Occasional commenter

    Great minds think alike....:)
    BrightonEarly likes this.
  14. BrightonEarly

    BrightonEarly Occasional commenter

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