The second reason I don't think students make deadlines is related closely to the first (see previous post) and deals with motivation. Students won't bother practicing there time management skills or manage distractions, if they are not motivated to learn. Even with GCSE's or GNVQ's the motivation to pass doesn't kick in for many until the final final final deadline is staring them in the face. So how do we motivate them to want to meet that deadline? I've already mentioned in the previous post, why I think sanctions don't work. The learning dispositions required to meet a deadline are difficult, just as the learning concepts related to quadratic equations can be difficult. We work with students who are having difficulty with meeting deadlines so why don't we do the same with students developing time management skills?
At the Academy, I'm hoping to introduce the notion of "Graduation Stages" for students. Click here for Graduation Stages Initially they will be in the PBL programme, but I'd like to extend it across the whole academy. Each stage, progresses through degrees of independence and participation in the planning and organisation of learning. At stage 1 (Asteroid) students have a far more traditional education. They are in front of the teacher much of the time, and given very structured tasks. The whole purpose of this stage is to try and enable the students to graduate to Stage 2 (Moon). I am hoping that the vast majority of students will have graduated to Stage 2 by the end of the induction to the new programme. Graduation can only occur when students show that they have developed specified dispositions for learning. I am hoping that the majority of our students will be working at Stage 3 (Planet) by the end of Year 9. At this stage the students will have the opportunity to plan much of their learning with the teacher (learning facilitator) and will share in deciding on what should be assessed. They will also be able to work in ways which suits them, independently, without the need for frequent direct supervision. I've included a Stage 4 (Star) because we want students to reach for the stars. This ideal student will really be able to choose what they learn, when and where, drawing on the menu of learning opportunities we can provide and what the learning resources they can create for themselves. At present, logistically we don't have the means to cater for Stage 4 students, but we'd like to think that our organisation of the curriculum will begin to address these needs. This really is personalised learning, and will prove to be the most challenging aspect of the programme, especially as it begins to develop throughout the school.
I'd like to think that by Years 10 & 11 our students really are able to manage distractions and plan their time more effectively. Watch this space. . .