Dear Coach…

By Jerrelle Karakanna

This month: A Levels

A question box was placed in the staff room and staff members anonymously submitted questions they had about teaching and learning.

  1. Any tips on keep learners motivated at this time of year?

A lot of courses are moving to the last stages of their delivery. Workshops / portfolio / revision sessions are therefore becoming more frequent. If these sessions are delivered with the same structure each time, learners will inevitably become bored and this will affect their attendance and in the most extreme cases, could result in a late-stage drop out. One excellent example of good practice seen around the college is the use of “pub quizzes.”

Lecturers have been making innovative score sheets on A3 paper which are striking and aid the learners with engagement and curiosity. Differentiation can be actively applied by grouping of teams and complexity of the questions. The use of different rounds was particularly effective in maintaining engagement, Use of “wipe out” rounds meant students had to make the decision whether to attempt all questions and maximise or lose points or to gain nothing at all. The use of jokers so learners could double their points on a round also upped their motivation-they could only use this once though! The GCSE maths evening classes went one further and combined their classes so it also became a competition between the tutors. All these different varieties on a classic can maximise engagement and raise motivation of learners at this late stage.

  1. For students coming back, will I need to give another initial assessment for their group profile?

First of all, keep your group profile from this year! Presumably, learners will be completing new units/modules. If these contain a new set of skills the learners will need to utilise, then a new initial assessment should be done for this part of the course. This way, you can identify individual strengths and weaknesses specific to this module/unit and plan your sessions accordingly. If the skills they will need are the same as the ones needed in previous units, set targets and strategies to enable learners to stretch themselves and develop them further. Regular updates on the group profile can ensure sessions are planned to meet the developing needs and abilities of the learners and can allow them to develop even beyond their potential for their next stage in their education or career.

Next month: English



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