So today saw my first group of tasking students.
A lively bunch anyway they were due to hand in work which was supposed to be started over the summer as the group are year two students on their level three BTEC however many were behind task yet there was no urgency in many of them to complete the work.
It was difficult to get the students to work and stay on task; they mostly knew what needed to be done as they had had one-to-ones earlier in the day however they were not really working. The students had three hours to complete work to a standard to hand in but most seemed to rely on the fact that despite hand in being today they had until Tuesday morning to add to their work, after marking they also have a grace period of ten days to improve this work.
Many of the students had excuses for why they were behind or missing work, typically that work was on a computer when asked about written work and I noticed that a great deal of the students were insecure about their English and written skills which hindered their work. I found this a little surprising as they are year two students and have already passed year one so should know what is expected of them and have any help in place with their writing by now.
I felt that many of them did not have enough structure to their three hours and that although they were of a higher level too many of the group did not have the maturity to be left in independent study.
I found it was difficult to get much from them and my initial reaction (that of working with younger children) would have been to separate them as many of the students distracted their friends in the group. I feel that this would not have been the right practice with this age group as they would have probably reacted badly to being broken up from their friends and caused even more discord.
Some of the students complained that they did not have enough help from the tutor through the project but since some students seemed to have gotten on with the work very well it was hard to believe it was just down to the tutor having to split their time between two classes.
I do however feel that the larger picture was the amount of work the students had fallen behind with, that they perhaps were not pushed enough or left to their own devices too much in the earlier weeks. I understand that they have only had three weeks back from the summer but the trust was there that they would do some work over the six week holiday period and many obviously did not.
I feel that my biggest issue with dealing with this class was just trying to get them to focus, it was easy to tell them what they were missing, or even get them to tell me what they thought they were missing but I just couldn’t get them to do anything. I found it hard to understand why when they knew they needed to get on; and what they needed to be doing that they simply weren’t doing anything. I feel this lack of working might have something to do with the ten days extra the students get once the work has been marked to improve but I don’t see how this would really help them as by this time they should already be starting on a new project and a new discipline and to rely on this extra timw would be foolish.
In my studies and training to become a teacher I have not yet covered behaviour and classroom management and feel that some of these issues I faced in today’s class could be addressed through researching and through talking to my mentor and other tutors.
I also feel that class motivation was a issue here, I feel that the students in question did not have enough drive, either they did not enjoy the project or had other issues (some mentioned issues with home and work) which kept them from engaging with their work. I feel that maybe getting to the root of the problem with these students might have helped them feel more motivated but that again it could have been due to poor time management de-motivating them to a point they gave up.