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low ability group refusing to work independently...ggrrrr

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by nernstlaw, Jun 23, 2015.

  1. nernstlaw

    nernstlaw New commenter

    one of my groups have just sat their end of year test (GCSE) and they performed really badly.

    They are low ability but they just refuse to work independently and expect to be spoon fed all of the answers. For example, we were going through said test paper and I decided that they should have another go at it using exercise books, text books and the internet to try and correct their work.

    one pupil then says....I can't find the answer anywhere on google then proceeds to colour his test paper for the next 5 mins until I then instruct him to open his text book. He opens the book and colours for another 5 mins until I tell him the page number in the book. He then colours for another 5 mins until I point to the correct paragraph in the book.

    I have been battling with this class all year, trying every technique I can think of but they will not do it.

    any hints and tips would be greatly appreciated.


  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I know this will involve more work, but you could create a worksheet/booklet with some questions on various topics and give the page numbers in a text book or revision guide where they can be found. Set a few pages to be completed with some of it be completes outside of class. Each week get the parents to sign the booklet or sheet saying they have monitored the work and note how much has been done. You have done all you can and now it is time for the students and parents to help you. We all have choices and if they choose to continue not to at lest try then they have to live with the consequences.
  3. re

    re New commenter

    The expectation of spoon feeding is getting worse. If a pupil is expected to find something out and it is not on the first Google entry then they can't do it. We are now in the position where all exam equipment is supplied by the school - including basic stationery. This is because we (as a school) are terrified that the students may fail and look bad in Ofsted analysis. Our Head has decreed that no pupil should waste time in classes because they haven't bothered to bring a pen, therefore we have to supply them. No wonder the students have no independent learning skills!
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I agree with re.

    What are these students going to do when they have to be on time to a job and prepared with the things that they need.

    Many I see on supply can't follow instructions, don't have basic equipment ( although they have the most expensive phones), and expect the teacher to do the work for them.

    Some can't even follow the basic instruction to write their name and date on their work - they look dazed by it!

  5. nernstlaw

    nernstlaw New commenter

    thanks for the moral support! I am so fed up of trying to get them to do any independent work (they are capable of it!) they do just expect to be spoon fed.

    pepper, I have tried the booklet thing before but did not involve the parents....this will definitely be my next step. thanks!

    P.S. if they don't have a pen, they can borrow one of mine but it comes at a price....they owe me a 1 hr detention and the have to give me one shoe for the lesson (they don't walk off with your pens if they only have one shoe!) needless to say, they manage to have the correct equipment for my lessons ;-)
  6. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    hi nernstlaw

    Let us know if getting the parents involved helps.

    Have a great summer off.

  7. 25975

    25975 New commenter

    Is the work being set simply beyond them?
  8. re

    re New commenter

    I'm willing to bet it's not. IMHO we do too much thinking for them. Just ask what happens when they buy a new console game. They sit down and work out how to play it, 99% of the time without consulting the manual. In school, they become totally dependent on the teacher/LSA to tell them exactly what to write. If they don't know first time it's "I don't understand - it's too hard". And we pander to it!!!!
  9. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    You are correct that we pander to it but employers will not. I wonder what some of these students will do when they leave education and have to put some effort into something.
  10. nernstlaw

    nernstlaw New commenter

    The issue i'm having is becoming even more evident. The refusal to work independently seems (partly) to be a learned behaviour....in some other lessons, they kick up a big fuss and the teacher then gives in and does it for them. This is becoming a battle of wills and I will win! The handful of children that are still causing problems will have to catch up the work or suffer the consequences.
  11. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    unfortunately unpicking these learned habits will probably take more time than you have. Years of not trying, or being fed answers will have led many of them to be very, very lazy. It's really hard to chafe that in a few weeks.

    That said, if you set the task and make it a condition that any work they don't complete is done after school with you, then you'll probably see a bit more effort. It will require massive amounts of commitment from you though, following up and dealing with the howls of protest :) But keep it up and you might just get them focused...

    Good luck

  12. olderandwiser

    olderandwiser Occasional commenter

    I would suggest the best thing to do is forget it. Realistically, you are not going to change the habits of a lifetime. Push too hard, and students and their parents will start complaining. SLT will have little time for your protestations about wanting to change their mindset and work more independently - remember, SLT have spent the last 15 years themselves pushing staff to spoonfeed so the results keep rollin' in. And do you really want to spend the next few months working with lazy students after school, while they catch up, with no prospect of any change in behaviour?

    No, give up now. Do nice easy teacher-led lessons where you tell everyone what to do step by step, coursework style. Everyone will be happy. That's the way forward.
  13. nernstlaw

    nernstlaw New commenter

    thanks again for the replies....

    olderandwiser:...I can't just give up, I've put in a lot of time and effort with these kids all year and will probably have them next year. I really don't like the step by step coursework style lessons...they're boring, so I won't be happy...I like to TEACH.

    Tom: thanks, I've had lots of after school catch up sessions with these pupils throughout the year and yes, it is hard work following up and chasing them for bits and pieces. As I mentioned before, I will probably have this class next year so I have to keep laying the groundwork. they are currently year 9 so hopefully by the end of year 10 they might have the maturity to do this sort of stuff.

  14. Hi Nernst,

    I work in a school in a low socio-economic area in Australia. 45% of our students speak English as a second language. We have implemented school-wide literacy strategies for reading all text genres to enable students to find information quickly and accurately. We teach them to SCAN. Survey the headings, Capture the visuals, Attack key words and Note the question. We teach and use the strategy across all subject areas in relation to all text types and we also use it to teach students to read exam questions and task sheets accurately. We are also teaching students the skill to refine their research questions and enter the key words in a Google search to reduce the number of sites they are confronted with. We are finding that these strategies free the working memories of our students and they are more willing to try when they feel they have experienced more success. We also use Habits of Mind strategies to reward students who always try hard and always apply past knowledge to new situations.

    These strategies take time to teach, but we have found they are well worth the effort.

    Best wishes


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