Scoring points with prizes

14th January 2005 at 00:00
Anthony Vinters has ways to help less able pupils

Being faced with a class of 20 disgruntled teenagers can leave you frustrated and angry, and with a sense of failure. However, inspiration led me to think of another way of doing revision with these young people.

I divided the class into small groups of two or three pupils. Revision topics were written on cards and then placed in a hat. There was a "prize draw", each group drawing their topic from the hat. Having "Won their topic" they were allowed three hours of lesson time to prepare a presentation.

This could be a talk illustrated by using PowerPoint, a series of posters, an informal discussion with other members of the class, a piece of drama, a series of questions given to the class about the topic, with answers and helpful hints. Each presentation was for 10 minutes.

Each group had to prepare a series of questions about their own presentation to be given out to the rest of the class. These were taken home and completed for homework. The class was encouraged to take notes during each presentation and ask questions of the "lecturers".

After a couple of weeks, rivalry began to develop between the different groups. One group in particular did little preparation, and treated the whole thing as a lark. Their attitude soon changed when their peers began to turn in polished performances and, for them, excellent work. Their final marks were also very pleasing: most of them gained grade C rather than the expected D or below.

Revision turned into an experience to look forward to, rather than a drudge.

Anthony Vinters teaches science at Rishworth School, West Yorkshire

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