what do you do with the lazy ones who REFUSE to...

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by traeh, Jul 17, 2008.

  1. traeh

    traeh Companion

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    Jul 17, 2008

    What do you do if a kid wants to sleep during class OR more annoyingly ... a kid that takes forever to complete a task because s/he takes unnecessary breaks and is just overtly lazy and "slow on the go".

    I find the latter situation described to be extremely frustrating, because then I cannot go over the answers and it slows the entire class down.

    It has become widely prevalent in my school district and therefore, if I hope to survive, I need to learn to deal.

    How do you deal?

    ps. I do create some fun activities to evoke the students' interest and keep them involved and intrigued. However, obviously I cannot spend 100% of the time entertaining them, so when it comes to doing drills and/or practice.... how do I get them to work efficiently. I mean.... "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink," you know?
     
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  3. Carmen13

    Carmen13 Groupie

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    Oh, I try the sneaky approach! I start naming the students who will go to the board (to correct the exercises) and I obviously include the lazy ones...it does make them speed up! :D
     
  4. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    If a kid is sleeping in class ...
    I wake him, tell him to keep his head up. If it seems to be a recurring problem I call the parent. Almost always there is something causing the sleeping (e.g. meds, working until midnight) and not just "boredom" that I learn from the parent. In these cases, I try to support the student. If it IS a boredome issue, I make it my responsiblity to get the kids up and moving for a few seconds ... how many times have we dozed at in-service if it's not useful, warm, after lunch.

    If I know a kid just works slow, I do wait on him. If I figure out that a kiddo is just not doing the work, I move on without him. "okay, 1 minute to wrap up .... alright, put what you got in the tray ... so, what do you think, Andrew, how did you answer the first question." I have the questions in front of me, can read or display again for them. Sometimes I call on the kid that didn't do the work because he didn't want to, just so he doesn't feel like he got off the hook (is that mean?) When I grade the work from the tray, the incomplete work is obviously graded lower ... it starts to show in their grade and they usually get on the ball.
     
  5. traeh

    traeh Companion

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    Carmen... I've tried that strategy. However, sometimes I have students refuse to participate when I've asked them to do so.

    Example:

    After I've called 2 or 3 kids to the board to write their answers, I get to "John" who says, "No, I'm not going up"

    me: "If you don't go to the board, you are going to lose your participation points for the day"

    student: "I don't care" (puts head down) or just sits there with a disgusted look on his face.

    KU... I have called parents. Usually that results in an improvement for a week or so before the student resumes his/her old ways.

    Also, I usually wait too if a kid typically works slow and have moved on when a kid won't lift a finger. However, I just cannot stand when kids choose to NOT pay attention or do the work and they start failing their assignments and I have to deal with their parents who blame it on me. Some kids just CHOOSE to give up. It's one of the most frustrating parts of my job. I care way to much and it bugs me to no end to see them slack.

    Additionally, regardless of how many interactive, interesting, engaging games/activities I implement, the behavior from one kid to the next is pretty consistent. A sleeper will be a sleeper, a slacker will be a slacker, and a kid that does the work will do the work. Believe me, I do all that I can to try to evoke their interest. Sometimes, the student just refuses..

    I have a hard time accepting that.
     
  6. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    In the past, I've stuck little stickers on their fingernails until they've woken up. Then I assigned 5 minutes of lunch detention for every sticker. However, this proved to be too entertaining for the class! This year I have a system I learned from a colleague. My kids will have 25 points of extra credit per quarter, and they'll lose a point for sleeping (or even having the appearance of sleeping) in class.

    Nothing is more irritating than a student who breezes into class and immediately puts his head down on the desk. I teach English, not naptime!!!
     
  7. traeh

    traeh Companion

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    But Mrs. K, why give them extra credit for doing what they are expected to do?
     
  8. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    It's really a matter of semantics - in the past I've given a grade for preparedness and participation that was 10% of the total grade. The "extra credit" will only amount to about 1% for the quarter, but there's something magic about that phrase! They know that I never offer extra credit assignments (that's just more work for me) so they want to hang on to those points.
     
  9. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Document everything (I'm sure you do) so when you meet with the parents you have evidence. When a student starts to constantly NOT work I give him a pink slip. The pink slip has space for name, assignment, due date that I fill in. The student fills in "Assignment not completed because" and signs it. I keep this for parents if they want to meet. One time a student did refuse to complete the pink slip, he had a choice: fill it out or explain to Mr. W our conflict. He filled it out.

    I feel your pain about kids just not doing the work. My students have to pass my class to graduate. It can get pretty scary in March for a few kids. I've lost two (dropped out) and it hurts me so bad, and then makes me SO mad. But, it just wasn't my class ... and if you asked their elementary school teachers they would have made the prediction. Some kids just aren't a good fit for school ... it's nothing that you've done and sometimes there is nothing you CAN do.

    You can either push, and push, and push, and push on a kid ... or you can you can say, "here's what needs to happen, don't say I didn't warn you," and let him dig his hole. It's part of being a HS teacher. I tend to be a pusher. I get my feelings hurt and get let down sometimes, but I need to know that I did everything I could for a kid.

    Keep the parents informed, get the counselor involved ... coaches can usually lean on a kid pretty hard (and our band teacher is GREAT at leaning on a kid). I also work with a "tough guy" teacher and we have all of the same students, sometimes I call on him and we meet with a kid together ... I let him do the "wake up call" talk about life with no diploma ... he's got a good one.

    I know it is frustrating and sometimes heartbreaking. But, figure out what is comfortable for you and do the best you can.
     
  10. traeh

    traeh Companion

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    Jul 17, 2008

    ku_alum: I realllly like the pink slip idea. That's a perfect piece of evidence right there. Funny how the one kid almost refused to sign it until you brought up "Mr. W" haha.

    You are so right in the fact that we can either push and push a kid or just give s/he the warning. I tend to be the pusher too. It does lead to hurt feelings and disappointment for sure. I guess that's why it's so frustrating. Realizing you spent so much time rooting for the kid and pushing, only to watch him turn the other cheek...... it's very sad.

    I think that it's also a good idea to talk to coaches about it to get them involved. There was one incident where a coach of one of the sports teams approached me to tell me that he was going to 'let the kid have it' during practice in order to punish him for his poor behavior. It is good to know that other teachers care.

    Thanks for the support! : )
     
  11. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Traeh, we HS teachers all need to support each other! :) I'm glad the pink slip might be a solution for you. Keep pushing, sometimes we get great surprises and happy endings. :)
     
  12. NJArt

    NJArt Comrade

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    i love that pink slip idea... I just told it to my friend who is a hs english teacher and she said she may have to use that idea! So often a student will tell their parents that they are getting a bad grade because "Miss D doesn't like me"... the pink slip is the perfect evidence of the students attitude at the time the assignment is due, and best of all in THEIR handwritting. LOVE it.
     
  13. Kerfuffle

    Kerfuffle Rookie

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    Jul 17, 2008

    I met a teacher whose rule was, "YOU SLEEP -- YOU STAND."

    Think it's worth a shot?
     
  14. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Punishing a kid for sleeping in class doesn't make any sense to me at all. I feel like it is another one of those things we do as teachers because we feel like we should not because we really consider it a problem. If it happens regularly there is obviously as issue but not one discipline is going to solve.

    As far as those who choose not to work, that is their loss. As soon as you make it your problem you've taken the control away from them and put it on you. Now you've made it your job to entertain them for the rest of the year. Of course you push kids, of course you have your talks with them but holding up your whole class for one kid?

    Go over the answers with him/her there. What is the point of the work in your class? Is it to instruct or to access? I think you'll find most work is instruction and therefore it really doesn't matter who is finished when you choose to go over it. I went to a GATE/GT/Advanced training this year where the speaker floated the idea of moving on after only 1/3 of the class is done.

    His reasoning was that you typically see another 1/3 finish within 5 minutes of the first third and the last group wouldn't finish no matter how long you waited so why not push on? While I couldn't bring myself to use the 1/3 rule in my regular ed classes I did start using 1/2 and it was amazing how much better *I* felt. It was no longer up to me to decide how much time/effort/brain cycles to waste on Johnny sitting there doing nothing.
     
  15. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Hmmm...you make some valid points, Rockguykev, but if my P walked in and saw students with their heads down, it wouldn't be the kids who were in trouble.
     
  16. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I can't wait until my classroom is equiped with a video camera. My P is doing a few classrooms at a time, as she can afford them, and mine isn't done yet. I've already told them that I'll be making use of the tapes when it comes to parents blaming me for their kids' bad behavior.
     
  17. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    This is something I am really going to think about. 1/2 the students...That would add so much flexible time to the class period, but what about fair grading? Did the presenter mention anything on how to grade with this philosophy? Or were the assignments those not take for an official grade?
     
  18. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    When a student refuses to participate I assume it has something to do with wanting to avoid social embarrassment. They can be very sensitive about this. A lot of my students who struggle with their multiplication facts do not want to play when we do around hte world, for example. So, I will allow them to be skipped the first time it occurs (why risk a power struggle?) but will discuss the situation with them later in the class period and try to get them to tell me the reason, Usually they don't come right out and say why but will admit they don't know their facts and don't want to look dumb in front of their peers. I will tell them sternly that they can fix that by studying daily. They have been warned and will not be allowed to stay out of future games. I let them know, a refussal to participate will be an automatic detention and they will still have to participate anyways. It seems to work.

    If it is emabrrassment on the part of a struggling student and it is something they can't easily study and improve, I will try to structure the class so that child doesn't have to participate. Why push a child to participate in something that they aren't going to get anything out of and will make them feel stupid? I will ask that student to sort papers or do some other task instead.
     
  19. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    paperheart...I like your method. I do try to be sensitive to those sorts of things but I don't always have much success.
     
  20. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

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    Ugg, I had a kid last year who I could never keep awake in class. At the end of the year we were working on a major paper. Three or four days into the paper he becomes upset because he doesn’t have the data that we spent the first few days working on. After he finishes complaining about his project (that he is now several days behind on) I find him not five minutes later with his eyes closed…

    What irked me the most was he was always complaining about how no one ever tells him what is going on and could he get extra credit for doing this…

    Some interesting ideas circulating… I will have to pay attention because I was unsuccessful in keeping this child’s eyes open.
     
  21. peridotylayne

    peridotylayne Companion

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    I teach fourth grade, but I saw the word lazy and had to stop in to take a look.

    I had one student that would constantly look at the clock to see how much longer he could procrastinate on his classwork until the next time we left the classroom. To fix that problem everything not finished by the end of the day would be a zero(because he was VERY capable of finishing). I let some of my other kids (my slow workers) take it home for homework, but he was just refusing to do it in class.. when he saw the failing grades on his progress report he stopped for a while. When he'd start back up, I'd remind him of what happened.

    For my sleepers, since fourth graders LOVE to stay up late watching shows they shouldn't watch and playing video games they shouldn't be play.. I'd simply make them stand. They'd complain that their legs were tired.. and I'd simply reply "I'm sorry your legs are tired, but I'm tired of you sleeping while I'm teaching. So once you stop sleeping during instruction, I'll let you sit down in class."

    It might seem a bit harsh, but 9 and 10 year olds know how to push limits.
     
  22. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Do your fourth graders respond to you making them stand? Do you see a long term change in their behavior?

    Just curious.
     
  23. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    I still contend that if you have a kid that sleeps every day, there is likely something going on (medication, working late, drugs). It needs to be taken up with the parents/counselor. The occassional head down can usually be taken care of with a prompt "keep your head off your desk, please" or letting everyone stand, move around for a few seconds, maybe sit somehwhere else, changing a writing prompt into a discussion prompt, doing think-pair-shares, etc. Even just a few minutes of these activities can revive the students. I go back to those teacher in-services that you see people dozing, especially after lunch ... HS kids change classes every 50 minutes, 90 minutes, whatever ... but, it is still a lot of sitting and in some classes a lot of listening.
     
  24. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    KU, I agree! I know I get really sleepy after sitting in an inservice all day long. If I had to do it everyday for 180 days in a row, I'd be miserable, too. I try to get my kids up and moving as much as possible.
     
  25. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    My mother's students almost never dared to fall asleep in her classroom. They knew if they did, she would hit them with the plant mister she kept by her desk. Granted, she was a beloved teacher who regularly got away with techniques that would get many other teachers in trouble, but those kids were ALERT.
     
  26. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Everything was graded in his class but any assignment could be taken home and returned later for full credit up to a certain point. For me I give them two days to bring it back before there is a penalty.
     
  27. peridotylayne

    peridotylayne Companion

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    Certain ones did. Others didn't. If the standing didn't fix it (usually they were tired because they stayed up too late. If it didn't work I'd try sending them to rinse their face with cold water. The walk should suffice to wake them up and the water is refreshing. If they were STILL drowsy after that, I called home. Most of the time the parents admittedly let them stay up too late. On the rare occassion (maybe once or twice) I had a parent tell me of a medication that I did not already know about. - Being 4th graders, parents usually wrote me notes or dropped their child off in person to let me know of the change.
     
  28. traeh

    traeh Companion

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    Rockguykev...

    I do agree with you that punishing a kid for sleeping doesn't make sense. Personally, if I could do things my way (and not worry about the principal walking in) I would give the student a warning and that would be that.

    I've followed the advice of colleagues to 'never allow that' and it's always caused me more aggravation and never solved the problem.

    Usually whenever I confront a student about it (even as simply as, 'please pick your head up') it almost ALWAYS adds insult to injury, because the student will start complaining or will make a nasty remark.

    In college, do your professors tap you on the head or give you a warning because you're sleeping during the lesson? No.

    So why should hs/ms teachers do it?
     
  29. Budaka

    Budaka Cohort

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    I guess I am just old-fashioned but I consider sleeping in a college class to be a sign of disrespect. I never slept in a college class and I can only remember one time someone else sleeping. In that case the rest of the students were very angry and ask the professor to wake the student up! I put myself through college by working a full time night job when I was in school full time. I often worked all night and then only had two hours before I had to go school all day long. When I taught night Spanish classes at the same college I never had a student sleep in any of my classes! If I had, I would of ask them to leave.
    Now, with kids I do talk to them to see whats going on. Sometimes its medication or things going on at home. I had one student who had a type of seizure where he would appear asleep but was actually unconsious (good thing I tried to wake him up-we had to call 911). But if they don't have any real justification no way do I let them sleep in class for the same reason. It is highly disrespectful. And if I let one sleep, why won't I let the whole class sleep?
    I also have had several high schools who lived on their own at the age of 17 or 18 (because their parents were out of the picture!) who worked full time jobs to support themselves (not because they wanted to drive a cool car) and never fell asleep in class!
     
  30. karyljm

    karyljm Rookie

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    I agree with Carmen, and I think the others shouldn't be slowed down because of one student.
     
  31. ByCandleLight

    ByCandleLight Rookie

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    I love how the teaching profession has begun focusing on a teacher's need to sing and dance in order to bring about learning...don't you? At my last school, my department head actually sat there and told me that educators were in fact...edutainers. And then she went on to explain how I couldn't teach unless I had them engaged every step of the way. I'm sorry, but I don't agree. Yes, I have fun activities. Yes, we lead in-class discussions. But at some point, they need to do the work because out of some internal motivation. I don't have the energy or the $$$ to put on a dog and pony show every day of the week. We're suppose to be preparing them for the "real" world, and I'm sorry but last I checked my boss wasn't putting on a puppet show in order to get me to file my lesson plans on time.

    As for the lazy ones, I can only tell you what I've done, but I have to admit that the success rate is not high for those serial offenders that don't just act like this in your class but in all their classes. The first thing I do is have a conference with them to discuss their attitude in class. In these discussions I try to see if there's another reason for their habits (stress, work, etc...) and try to get them to see the link between their longterm goals and completing my assignments. The next step I take is to call the parents and discuss their child's behavior. If neither of these work, I continue with the lesson for the rest of the class. Sleeping in class is a big no-no at my school, so if he or she continues to do this despite my best efforts...they'll be sent to administration for it. I'm always there if a child wants to learn, but I'm not going to hold up the entire class for a student or two that will not work with me in any capacity. If I feel there are other issues there, I'll refer them to the counselor and work with her at setting academic goals (for example: grade forgiveness in lieu of a summative assessment) depending on the situation.

    But I will admit that the first school I worked for had such horrible disciplinary problems (a lot of it was b/c of the area the school district was located in) that sleeping and not doing the work just weren't serious enough problems to warrant any type of concern from the school. They were busy handling children caught having sex in the bathrooms, smearing feces on the walls, cutting each other with hidden weapons, and breaking into the teacher lounge to rob the soda machines. And in that situation (and as a first year teacher) I just let them sleep. I didn't know what else I could do. Those that wanted to learn, I took with me...and I know a lot of people would probably think that it's shameful I left some behind, but I honestly did what I thought was best given the situation.
     
  32. Engsis

    Engsis Rookie

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    It's as if you stole the thoughts right out of my head. I enjoy making my class fun whenever possible but students need to work to learn, even when it's not fun. And students need to be made responsible for their own learning--not the teacher.

    As far as sleeping, I almost never let kids sleep in my class because I find that if I ignore a dozing student for even a minute, other students start trying to sleep too. Plus, students are missing important instruction when they are allowed to sleep.

    I'm a bit confused as to why this is so difficult for other teachers because even during my first year of teaching--when I had wild overcrowded classes and almost no classroom management skills--waking students up was one of the easiest things to do. I just imitated what I saw other teachers doing.

    As soon as I see a student or students putting their heads on their desks, I project my voice and say, "Your desk is not a pillow. Put your head up." If a student ignores me, I sometimes ask a neighboring student (if they're friends) to get the person up. Or I go over to him/her, tap his/her desk and quietly (but assertively) tell the person to sit up. If students argue with me about this, I tell them my class is not a place to sleep and if they are really feeling so bad that they can't stay awake, then they can choose to go to the nurse. 100% of the time (so far) they choose to sit up.

    In the past, I have allowed students to sleep when they were clearly not feeling well and the nurse wasn't in. But this is rare.
     
  33. leisurej

    leisurej Rookie

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    When it happens repeatedly call the parent to find out if something at home is affecting them.

    I once had a senior, Kevin, who was trying so hard to stay awake but kept falling to sleep. When I called home I found out the mom was in the hospital and father was in jail and that Kevin was working as a janitor at the commissary(military grocery) at night to make enough money to help out at home. He had 2 younger sisters that he was responsible for. We worked out with the guidance counselor to let him sleep in the nurses office during my class(90 minute class) and his lunch; then after school he'd eat lunch and I'd catch him up on what he missed. He was very bright so I could get him caught up in about 30 minutes, then I take him home so he could tend to his sisters and go to work.

    You never know what's going on until you ask.
     
  34. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    I need to be responsible for my own protection, not the police.

    I need to be responsible for my own food, not the farmer.

    I could go on but I think I made my point.
     
  35. Electron

    Electron Rookie

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    I don't know, Kev - did you? Personally I think should be capable of protecting ourselves (in various ways), for example; the police might be around to help out if something happens, but what if they're not? I think having the capability to be be self-sufficient, even if it's rarely necessary in modern society, is an excellent thing, and I try to get that across to my students.
     
  36. greatestteacher

    greatestteacher Rookie

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    I agree that there's usually an underlying problem. I typically don't have sleepers in class because I do use a lot of moving around and "entertaining" learning.

    P.s. Sometimes entertaining doesn't have to be a dog and pony show, but just varying the tone of your voice or your position, or the students' positions in the room. Have you ever been to a staff development where you weren't allowed discussion time with one another to help keep the positive, active energy in the room? I know I have, and belive me, I wanted to sleep through them too. :)

    Once, I had a child who wouldn't sleep but would "zone out" in class and refuse to work. He was never impolite, but always unresponsive. I talked with his parents on numerous occasions, to no avail, and wound up filling out a sped referral folder to get him some help. If a student is falling asleep regularly, something's up.

    P.s. I had an Anatomy teacher in HS who flat out told everyone she didn't mind if they slept, but they would take whatever grade they earned in the class. She would go right on with her lesson to those who wanted to learn. Truly that was one of my favorite classes in HS. Ahh... the good ole days. :p
     
  37. Engsis

    Engsis Rookie

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    Kev,

    I'm not trying to say that teachers don't play a role in helping students to learn. And I'm NOT advocating lazy, boring teaching where the teacher doesn't come up with any creative activities and just lectures at students and expects them to absorb all the information.

    However, I still think students are the main ones who are responsible for their learning and we can empower them by making this clear to them. I can be the best most entertaining teacher in the world but if a student doesn't want to make the effort to learn, he or she won't. Thus, becoming an "edutainer" just wastes time if students don't realize the ball is in their court.

    Students need to know that they can and should make learning happen whether class is boring or fun. IMHO, I think we should be educators not edutainers who teach our kids (who are almost adults) to develop listening, concentration, and study skills for both entertaining and not-so-entertaining situations if they're to be successful in college and most work situations.
     
  38. sciencegurl

    sciencegurl Companion

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    Aug 11, 2008

    My kids will have 25 points of extra credit per quarter, and they'll lose a point for sleeping (or even having the appearance of sleeping) in class.--I really like this. I also think the fingernail stickers is funny. I had a colleague who would make sleeping kids come in at lunch to watch an exceedingly boring video. I thought it was funny, but I like my lunches free.
     

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