So the first marking period is over. How do we help our Spanish students who are not doing well re-engage in their learning??
No Student WANTS To Get Bad Grades
Or lack skills. Or fall behind. But the reality is that in many of our classes, as we close the first marking period, there are some students who are not meeting goal. But sometimes our young people can dig themselves into a hole and they don’t feel that it’s possible to climb out. Keep reading for some tips on giving them a ladder.
Tip #1 For Re-engaging Spanish Students
The first thing we want to do to re-engage our student is to have a conversation. Can we figure out WHY he or she is not doing well? Chase the trail…. She is not doing homework….. because…. and then it’s choose your own adventure. Perhaps the reason is because there’s too much going on at home. Maybe she doesn’t understand how to do the homework. Does she play sports and not have enough time to get to it?
We need to let our students know that we care and that we want to help them succeed. We can let them know that every problem has a solution. Sometimes this is our most important teaching…. modeling how to identify and problem and brainstorming solutions! It’s a skill that our students can take with them everywhere they go!
Set realistic goals for improvement with your student. Sit down with him and WRITE down what the problems are. Then identify 1 or 2 actionable steps that are within your student’s control. Write down when/how often, etc.
Ex: I need to do more homework. Right now I am doing none.
I will stay after school and do my homework in homework club before I go home. I will do AT LEAST 2 assignments a week.
When can you find the time to have these private chats with your Spanish students???? That’s a tricky one. Let’s hope that your list of students you need to chat with isn’t too long! Can you:
-meet with one or 2 before school?
-try to get them during a homeroom time?
-get your Spanish students working on something independent while you call a student up to meet with you?
-have a chat after school?
I would argue that getting students re-engaged in their learning is worth the extra 10-15 minutes you may need to find to chat with them. It’s not easy, but the benefits are worth the effort!
Have you ever used a Homework Contract? I have found them to be very effective when I have adults that are supportive of their student’s learning.
A Homework Contract is a partnership between the teacher and the parent/guardian. Together with the student, you write out the goals or expectations in section 1.
In section 2, you write out the rewards a student will get both from the teacher and the parent when the goal is met.
The rewards can come daily or weekly. It depends on what it is!
In section 3, you outline the consequences a student gets when the expectation is not met.
**It is very important to emphasize with parents/guardians that we need to work in the currency of the student! For example: if the student doesn’t like to read, taking away a book isn’t a good consequence. However, if a student really loves to read, earning a new book at the end of the week might be a BIG motivator! Devices and video games tend to be something that a lot of teens care about. But it really depends on the individual.
From the teacher side, some possible rewards could be… for every X amount of times you complete your homework, you can make up one zero. Or you can pick your seat for the day, or you earn bonus points, etc. Consequences might be that they stay after school to make up work with you, or a phone call home.
Sometimes it can be a hard sell for parents/guardians. They don’t want to reward their child for doing something he/she SHOULD be doing.
My answer to that is: you have to break the negative cycle. By putting motivating rewards in place and also consequences they DON’T want, we start getting them to change their behavior. A natural result will be higher self-efficacy, higher grades, more practice, etc. Slowly, you phase out the Homework Contract after the student has re-gained some confidence. The intrinsic motivation that comes with doing well in school will take over, and they daily or weekly reward/consequence won’t be necessary!
I can admit that it is much easier to work with the students who are engaged and interested in Spanish. But as my own children get older and closer in age to my students, I always ask myself….. what would I want MY children’s teacher to do if they were struggling?
Students want to do well. They want to learn. They want to be proud of themselves, and make their parents and teachers proud. Sometimes they don’t have the tools to do this on their own.
Those thoughts help me find the time and the energy to go a few extra steps for the students that need to re-engage in Spanish.
How To Make Connections With Your Spanish Students at the Beginning of the Year
Building Confidence with AP Spanish Students
Need Motivating Resources?
Visit my Teachers Pay Teachers Store to find NO-PREP lessons and activities designed to build skills and motivate our learners!
Try this awesome Digital Escape Room when students need an infusion of fun and culture!