Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Today's entry isn't flowing too good. Getting stuck in lots of places and that's a sign that I'm on the wrong topic. Have to delete everything and start again, hoping a new tack will emerge and I can write more fluently again.

Hmm... rushed to finish my CT's comments so we can get the MY results printed and signed and ready for collection by Parents' Day next week. Didn't have a lot of imagination left to draw on so pretty much everyone got similar comments. The best I could do was to word each student's comments a little differently, with one or two exceptions for various reasons. My last batch of students had a little contest comparing who had the longest comments in their reports, but I don't think it will happen this year.

A2 is in need of a success that will inspire everyone in the group to press harder. Such depressed results as occurring this MY is quite damaging to morale and I feel the discouragement. Dealing with failure especially when one knows one shouldn't be failing is horrendously tough. What went wrong? Am I really as good as I thought I was? These are some of questions we ask ourselves in these situations and we sink into self-doubt and worse still, resignation. I sincerely hope this cascade can be arrested for all our sakes.

Everyone in A2 has the intelligence and the knowledge to do really well, and enjoy doing it at the same time. So why are people not reaching their potential? I know little about other subjects, but for GP I believe what's missing is their patience and persistence especially to examine other people's ideas, and to piece together their own.

On one query, I suggested rereading the answer written in order to catch language and logic mistakes and the response to my suggestion was, "Isn't that very time consuming?" Interesting question that says a lot about the strategy adopted to answer exam questions. It tells me that in the 90 minutes given for each paper, the idea is to fill up the entire time allocated by writing 800 words or thereabouts.

Despite the advice constantly given -- that planning, proofing, editing (sometimes even rewriting) are all components that can be reasonably budgeted for within the time limit, many students feel 90 minutes is too short to write a good paper and too long to keep their attention focused on a single task. Teenagers are seldom patient. They want to get things over and done with quickly but for some tasks, the best results come with patient development, and in not being satisfied with the easy answers.

In our training, we learned that education's aim is to change behaviour by learning better ways to accomplish our tasks. Logically then, unless behaviour changes, results cannot improve. I'm not talking about classroom micro-management here. Kids will be kids, regardless, thank God for that. I'm saying that the tricks you already know can only take you so far. We are teaching you new tricks that will get you further, so start practicing them and using them and see for yourselves how far you can go.

Not quite the entry I meant to write, but I guess this must have been on my mind. I couldn't think of anything else.

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