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My school do not allow Year 11 to go on study leave. I have been allocated a Year 11 group for 5 hours a week to supervise them revising for Maths, English and Humanities exams. The group are somewhat challenging, they are students who have been removed from other lessons for various social/emotional reasons and therefore are focusing on the core subjects for GCSE and so I support them when they normally would have been in their options subject.
The problem I am having is they are point blank refusing to revise. They are logging on to the computer and surfing the net the whole time or if I ask them to come off the computer, they sit staring into space, chat or just put their head on the desk.
I am at my wits end, I don't know what to do. They know they are leaving so don't seem to care about listening to me or the school rules. Two of the students didn't show up for my lesson today and it turned out they were truanting.
Is there anything I can do? I feel useless at the moment.
I'm afraid I can only offer sympathy, as you are on a hiding to nothing. Going back to the person who made this decision isn't really an option as he/she has done this ostensibly to support the "students", but really to get them out of someone else's hair and into yours.
They are not going to study because they cannot, and their reactions to your attempts to get them to do some work are all too typical.
Georgia99they are point blank refusing to revise.
... because they don't know how to or see the need to or even the value of studying. Unless the SMT is going to support you with practical suggestions, my advice to you would be to adopt the line of least resistance. If you're criticised, ask the critic for help.
Be sure of one thing: you are not useless.
This is a tough one because the obvious answer is to do group revision with them, not on computers but with quizzes and activities but I'm guessing you're not supposed to be doing that.
What sanctions are in the behaviour policy for students who refuse to work? I know they're leaving soon but they haven't left yet and there have to be consequences for their inappropriate behaviour. You need to be supported in implementing them so perhaps talk to a member of SMT/SLT and agree the steps you will take. Perhaps then arrange for them to 'drop by' during a lesson - not to take over - but to back you up in what you say.
If you suspect the reasons they are refusing to work could be, at least in part, their lack of confidence in their ability, why not look to other methods of revision. Or scrap revision and work on some sort of project, in which they'll have to practise the skills they should be revising, without them realising it's a form of revision.
If they are not using computers appropriately, don't use them. I'd suggest getting them to make revision tips videos for next year's Year 11s or to make a film about one of the topics they have to revise, though I suspect that at least initially they would mess about. Could you bring this up as a topic and tell them that if they write out a plan/storyboard for the film you'll give them a video camera to use. Would it motivate them if they had a real audience and purpose for a project, which they can choose (from a set of suggestions from you perhaps, or at least adapt one)?
The bottom line, though, is that they are refusing to follow your directions and this must surely be against the school's behaviour policy. When they leave school there will be consequences to this kind of behaviour and they need to be made to feel the consequences whilst at school, for however little time left there may be.
These dilemmas are almost inevitably a consequence of having a structure where, either students choose one less option and have 'option support,' or where, as in your case, they have dropped an option because they're not going to be successful in the exam. Either way, you're the poor sop who has to deal with the fallout. Been there, done that!
I agree with other posters, late in the day though it is. See if you can get some support from the hierarchy, or devise a 'project' for them to do, that MIGHT engage their interest for a short time.
Is there any mileage in doing some group revision for an exam they're all doing - just so they're not seated individually at computers?
Could they write something (carefully monitored of course) for the Year 11 yearbook, or has that been hived off to the keen ones?
I feel for you!
Timed essays and past papers! If they refuse get on-call or send them out (as per school "policy" / magic spells etc.). I suppose senior staff *might* whinge if they get called a lot but then maybe they will do at least something to "help"?
The fact is if you set them something to do e.g. past papers; sections of a maths text book on the topics they struggle with; chapters of a history / humanities textbook (with questions) on the bits they need to go over then surely they will sort of "have" to do it? If they choose not to then send them out - what else can you do really? (And put them in detention to show you are willing to "deal" with it in other ways too.)
In my experience just "asking" children not to surf the internet or not to chat / put head on desk is *never* successful. Low attainers / the disaffected in particular need to be given a very specific task and told they either do it now or they do it at lunchtime / after school / in internal exclusion etc.
Timed essays and past papers! (And no computers except for 5 mins at the end for certain individuals if they've been absolutely perfect.) If they refuse to work get on-call or send them out (as per school "policy" / magic spells etc.). I suppose senior staff *might* whinge if they get called a lot but then maybe they will do at least something to "help"?
Timed essays & past papers are all very well but, for the pupils to take them seriously, they have to be marked.
This is easier for maths or science where pupils can mark their own or pair up to mark each others.
You could get some past science and maths papers & mark schemes, find out the grade boundaries & then each session the pupils spend either doing or marking a paper. Get a table on the wall & put their weekly grades up. As the weeks progress, keep tabs to see if any of them improve .... rewards for anyone who gets a grade above their first paper double rewards for two grades etc.
Alternatively, put a call out to other depts who can forward papers to you. They should be delighted to get an opportunity for pupils to improve on their subjects. The other depts can take in, mark & return the scripts with grades.
Split the room into two - the workers & the dossers. There must be a couple of workers who would be pleased at having more of a structure imposed on their 'revision' sessions. Bit by bit, the sessions could become more productive. Get rid of disruptive dossers, they are not doing anyone any good - let them back in when they are prepared to apply themselves. If they see that the revision sessions are useful and that they do not have the audience they crave either they will stay away or they will rejoin & work.
Does not sound like a great situation, but the pupils may need a bit of structure & possibly a plan so they know which subjects / past papers they will be given each session.
This is an ongoing issues everywhere. We have a system called 'Lanschool' which you can always use to block the computers.
You are not useless. It maybe that your SMT are for not dealing with these learners' the first time around when they found out that they could not face being in very big classes, and maybe needed a little 1:3 time.
You could ask them what they would like to do when they leave school.....and try some embedded revision of your own.
Example: Hairdresser:- ratio required for dyeing har. Bricklayer: ration for mixing muck up.
Communication for both, speaking and listening, reading and writing.
Not saying it will work, but you could give it a try and feed back.
Good luck, keep smiling
We have a similar strategy at school, but it is not my job to teach this 'intervention' class. the HOD for the subjects should be supplying the revision material for each individual student.
That way I can concentrate on the ones that need help,
I also found making games like taboo for key words was useful. creative teachers in the subject dept, have probably already got these. So ask them for revision materials.
If they have to do course work I make sure i can block computers if they are on websites such as games and facebook, your 'techie' should help you with this.
It's not your job to gain the qualification out of them but to support them if they need extra, sometimes you just have to accept, they don't want your help.
SLT should be informed if behaviour is ongoing problem, but what I am convinced of with these kind of students is that nagging just doesn't help. Sometimes a conversation with an adult is more important, it may be the only time they have one!
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