Thursday, October 31, 2013

You don't want to flunk like a fool (Loudon Wainwright)

Exam revision time is a challenge in so many ways.

To avoid getting into a Mr Bean examination scenario...

...there are many study tips out there and really the only decent two are (apart from learning by osmosis with the book placed under your pillow at night) - be active, not passive in your approach and create a study timetable to cover all aspects/all subjects and when the exams are on.

That means rewriting stuff and rereading primary sources (texts), not glancing over notes or pretending to engage in revising things or being distracted by social media.

The girls that I am teaching run the full continuum from fully motivated (redoing/ improving essays and answering textual questions, then getting my feedback) to doing zip zilch nothing (sitting on a computer looking at Spotify for songs to download). Thankfully only one or two in that last category, so most of them are in between those two extremes.

Startling revelation 1: some students don't seem to want to improve. They are unmotivated to do well in external exams for whatever reason.

Startling revelation 2: some students who want to improve are difficult to help. When I've suggested on a couple of occasions to individuals that they do something more focused than they are engaged in they have reacted negatively.  

I get it - revision is an individual thing but teachers are experienced in sitting exams and preparing students for exams.

All part of being a teenager I guess.

NCEA provides some challenges too - the girls have different strengths and weaknesses in the different external standards so for focused revision they need to have individual programmes - tough to work through as a teacher but great differentiated learning for the girls.

So - back to motivation. I came across this nifty talk about what motivates people and found myself nodding along. I can also vouch for the message as the blog can attest - bonus schemes (yes - you, Cognition Education), DO NOT WORK!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Don't know much about the French I took (Sam Cooke)

NCEA External exams are imminent.

This means three things to teachers and invigilators the world over.

One - revision sessions for the exams

Two - Exam supervisions

and Three - a seemingly endless marking grind (reading the same stuff over and over again makes my brain hurt).

How did it come to this?

Ha ha - oh yeah, I forgot!