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Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Break is coming! I am Thankful

As I have mentioned before, I am in grad school for my doctorate in Education Curriculum and Iinstruction. I am enjoying my work so far, and am pondering research realms and paper topics. I am interested in examining student apathy/motivation in "failing" schools. We are one such school- but we do not have a long history of "failing" per say, we are in rebound mode and have been for the past 4 years- and are making ok progress. We made big gains in 2008, but our principal left (to work for the district) and there seems to be some issues with test scores specifically now. Although i adore our *new* principal. I absolutely, with all my being, can not stand standardized testing as the end-all-be-all for determining if a school (students and teachers progress depend on this) is "failing" or not. We have nine months in school, do not judge our 9 months of progress on less than three days of tests. PLUS this style of testing only applies to one learning style, and is generally only prepped well for one learning style. So of course our students have apathy and little motivation when they do well in a class only to have the test shut them down. I have seen it year after year with my 10th and 11th graders, and I teach advanced students (as well as regular/on grade level)-
Students see most teachers as only being focused on the test, teaching with just "drill" notes/ and work sheets and book work, and nothing engaging,- that leads to apathy and lack of the teachers feel stunted as well- thus more apathy and lack of motivation on their part.
I am in the midst of a large literature review/meta analysis of curriculum & teaching techniques that have been identified as helping end student apathy and motivate/engage them more......
i could study this all day, read and ponder...write and evaluate. I can tell you , I have changed my style of teaching over the years- and it has done me wonders.... i had some of the highest US History EOC scores last year and very rarely gave notes for the test and such- but we did have practice quizzes online, games done with test questions from the practice benchmarks- use of essential vocabulary in their projects/papers and analysis of several primary source historical documents....this year I am starting with 9th grade, some of the hardest students to engage and motivate. It does seem like a circus some days- with the antics my students bring in with them...but i have 7 to 10  kids stay for tutoring twice a week, more come in at lunch. My activities are mixed with traditional and more complex- my desks are in a big U and i sit with my students 90% of the time as they do their work.....i have all these little stools and hidden chairs around the room, so i can actually just sit by any desk in my class to discuss what they are doing- see progress, answer questions or just be the *presence* near them to keep them on track. I think we are doing well
 I am having to deal with several that just don't seem to give a i show up at their practices, where they hangout at lunch and call home *on the weekends* when I can engage both them and their parent/ feels like extra work some days- and I am lucky to have a TA and an intern..... so that's where i am diverting my attention while we wait on more info about S and the adoption

1 comment:

  1. LOL!!! I went to Sanderson HS, and played soccer for Coach Worley!!!! What is your student's name?