We had an excellent turnout at the meeting on Tuesday, with 20 members of staff representing most curriculum areas. The topic was “Motivation”, fitting in with the priority of developing achievement mind sets among our students.
We started by talking about reward systems. Many CAs now do this, generally based on the pioneering work by Psychology.
- Most subject areas found it was motivating and students were enthusiastic
- Element of theatre involved in some areas –CL visiting classroom and announcing winner etc
- Some controversy in some areas about wisdom of “bribery” as against inherent motivation
- Some subject areas are quite proscriptive about the criteria, others leave it up to individual teachers to use it as they felt appropriate
- Generally “Student of the Month” with prize draw, but some subjects do “student of the week”, no reward, more informal.
- Whether or not directly linked to above, most teachers who had used it found positive postcards home a positive thing, especially with CA administrative support to do the admin.
The discussion moved on to other ways of motivating students:
- Informal league tables, the loser buys the rest chocolate!
- Grouping students based on attainment, with possibility for students to be promoted or relegated based on performance in tasks
- Finding something that students were good at and emphasising it. For many of our students this might be a rare occasion in their academic career.
- Challenging complacent able students. Not: “Well done, you have got 90%!”, but: “Why did you only get 90%?” These students may have been the brightest kids they knew at feeder schools, for the first time they have had to challenge themselves against others of their ability.
Two guidance managers were present and there was some very interesting discussion about the role of progress coaches and the tutorial system in motivating students:
- We need to encourage positive comments on ProMo. Maybe have this as top option on the menus (“nudges”)?
- Tutorial sessions on Achievement Mind Sets and fostering “grit” are being rolled out. Could this be shared with subject teachers and make sure we are using the same language?
- Subject teachers and progress coaches rarely meet. Discussions about involving progress coaches in CA meetings, or just encouraging teachers to drop in to the guidance area to chat with PCs.
- Teachers with their ears to the ground confirmed that mindset work was active in feeder schools. Are we speaking the same language here?
- There was a general feeling that year 12 students may be more positive and motivated this year. Was this because of role of PCs, more awareness of mindset issues generally, work done by feeders or…?
The discussion was very positive and gave us lots to think about – thank you to all who came and shared.