I really enjoy just sitting back and watching my students after I’ve given them a task. I’ve been noticing a trend amongst my three classes. Some students get down to work right away. They engage with the task and put forth a lot of effort, while others take a more relaxed and social style by chatting with their peers and eventually getting down to work which then leaves the students who very rarely get to work at all.
Honestly, sometimes I am at a loss as to what I need to do to motivate these students. I really try hard to be a learner-centred teacher and focus on what my students are interested in and then create lessons and tasks that I think could be fun or engaging for them (while still meeting curriculum expectations). There are some days, however, that I feel like no matter what I do or how creative I am, I’m still not engaging them and helping them learn.
It’s something I’m currently struggling with in one of my classes. I really want my students to work on their writing skills but I know that if I talk about that topic in a traditional fashion, they are going to completely tune me out so I designed a task for them to create Common Craft style videos explaining the various components of being a good writer “In Plain English.” Some students have taken the idea and run with it, while others have yet to begin even though this was the third half class we had to work on this task. I framed this with a Learning Goal, talked about why this will be beneficial for the future, how it’s supposed to be fun, showed a variety of the videos (even the Zombie one!) and yet there are still students who I don’t think are even going to attempt the task.
So, good people, I’m looking for some help. I’m kind of at a loss as to what to do here. Did I miss the mark? Is it just that there are always going to be students who disengage no matter what I do? (If so, that makes me really depressed…) Any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions are appreciated.