Motivate the masses

19th January 2007 at 00:00
It may be a miserable month but January is the time to up the ante and get pupils charging ahead, says Sara Bubb

Isn't it great to be back in the swing of school life? If you are feeling that teaching is a bit of an effort, take comfort knowing that you are not alone. This can be a depressing time of year, for you and the children. But you have to snap out of the seasonal blues because this is the term to get loads of work covered. In the autumn, everything was new and life was incredibly busy for you.

The summer term will be dominated by marking test papers, report writing and class trips. This spring term is comparatively quiet, which means it is the one in which the most teaching and learning can happen.

The thing is, it's short: just about 12 weeks long. Before you know it, you will be off for half term and then enjoying the gorgeous Easter holidays.

Great! But until then you have got to get a stack of progress out of your pupils.

Their learning might have been at a comparatively slow rate last term because you were new to teaching, so now you need to up the ante and get them motoring ahead.

Planning will be the key to your success. Work back from a deadline, which might be a test, and then work out what needs to be done when. This will mean things are achieved in a more orderly fashion rather than in a last- minute panic.

Motivating children and young people is not easy. Wouldn't it be lovely if they always tried to do their best and fulfilled their potential? Unfortunately, teachers have got to work hard to get their pupils to learn - and, ideally, want to learn.

Helping young people understand what they are learning - and why - helps.

Learning objectives have to be clear to you and your pupils. However, that does not mean the mindless copying of objectives from the board - that merely wastes time.

All learners need to know why they are learning something. It is not always easy to explain, but articulating it will get you thinking about exactly what you are asking them to do and where it is leading.

It is always good to have a real world reason alongside the "because it is on the curriculum or syllabus" type of answer.

It may even get you thinking about challenge and appropriateness

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