Monday, September 13, 2010

finding a suitable carrot

Not intentionally. But I'd been considering what to do with 1-G, now that they've acquired The Fear[tm] and become more manageable. They're the last class on Monday, when they don't want to be there, and frankly I'm not thrilled about it either, if I'm just going to spend an hour trying to keep them acting like human beings.

At the beginning of class, I told them, "Okay, if you guys concentrate and work for a bit, we can all go home early."

There was much rejoicing, and Nicolas asked, "If we behave, how soon can we leave?".

"Hmm...forty-five minutes, maybe forty."

There was a little bit of grumbling until Nicolas did the math and helped his classmates understand that forty-five minutes is significantly less than an hour, which produced nods of upbeat agreement.

They accomplished more in 35 minutes than they usually do in 60. We all got to go home early and they got to see an immediate positive consequence for cooperation. I think they had an assumption that we were going to spend the whole hour regardless of what happened, and changing that opened up new possibilities for them. They were still Chilean schoolkids, but they stepped up to being only as much of a pain as my other classes.

Here's to more short classes in the future.

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