Tonight I am making my debut as host of #ukedchat during which we will be discussing how to deal with the mindset that doing well in school is not ‘cool’. I am hoping that there will be plenty of suggestions on how to deal with children who deliberately don’t achieve to their full potential because they are afraid of what their classmates will think or those children who will pick on and bully those who do achieve.
How do we as teachers celebrate a pupil’s achievements without making them resent the praise? I have only experienced this in years 5 to 8 but imagine that the older the children get the more common this problem becomes.
Here are a few of my thoughts to kickstart the discussion…
Is it the person giving the praise the problem? I have used Twitter and the school blog to publish children’s work to a wider audience and this has resulted in children getting feedback from outside of the school and this seems to really motivate the children. One Y6 girl was really reluctant to have screenshots of her 2DIY game on display in school but she was over the moon when I told her that her game would be part of a presentation I gave on the 2Simple stand at BETT (the guys at 2Simple – @2SimpleAnt and co – are great at commenting on children’s work). I am currently planning a unit of work in which my Year 8’s will be producing a magazine “The Apprentice” style and I am hoping to put together a ‘Panel of Experts’ consisting of journalists, editors and others working in the magazine industry to give advice and feedback.
I currently teach ICT throughout the school and I always try and display an enthusiasm and passion for the subject which I hope will pass on to some of the children I teach. I hope that by showing them that I really care about the subject and the work they do that they will engage in the subject more. I use displays in the classroom to celebrate the subject and provide role models for the children as well as provoke questions and discussion. I have also started a Retro Zone in our ICT room which currently contains an original PlayStation, a GameCube and an original GameBoy. Hopefully by demonstrating a love of the subject (I have been referred to as Super Geek, probably due to the Space Invader socks) it may rub off on the children and they will be more willing to achieve.
How are achievements celebrated in your school? I have seen assemblies where children are called to the front to receive Commendations – some children love this public display and others hate it.
Anyway, I’ve rambled on a bit – hopefully some of these thoughts might provoke some discussion tonight.