“Why does he have so few stars???” “Why is her homework unfinished again???” “How come he seems so unmotivated???” These might be some questions that you, as a Learning Center staff ask yourself.
If our role is to inspire achievement, how do we do this? Fortunately, the School of Tomorrow® system and A.C.E. ® curriculum give us guide lines. We can find this in our Five Laws of Learning. Let’s review them and see how we can get creative with them.
LAW #1 The pupil is placed on a level of curriculum where he can best perform.
LAW #2 The pupil must set reasonable and appropriate goals that he can be expected to achieve in a reasonable and prescribed period of time.
One of the best things about our system is that we can individualize. Although it would be so much easier to just give the same number of PACE requirements per quarter and the same number of total pages per day for all student’s that is not individualizing. Each student can only carry a certain load. So one thing we can do is individualize the number of PACE requirements per quarter to attain Honor Roll status and individualize the daily total of pages required.
One thing that we have seen to be very effective is to assign buddies for struggling and new students. Responsible students who know the system have the privilege to look after a fellow student. They check up on them every so often to see their progress, coach them in strategizing, and encourage them. Not only does this help the struggling student, but it also builds character in the buddy. The successful student mentors the struggler, often very effectively.
LAW #3 The pupil must receive motivation through encouragement and support to assimilate, use, and experience the educational material. The pupil must receive control through guidance and discipline in order to assimilate, use, and experience the material.
I hope that in the busyness our daily routine, super visors never take Daily Goal Check time for granted. After monitors do Goal Checks, supervisors should examine these reports and make their rounds in the Learning Center. It’s the perfect opportunity to have one-on-one time with each student. Praise and give a pat on the back to those who are doing their work correctly. “Good job yesterday!” It’s also the perfect time to correct any unproductivity. “Why didn’t you do your homework last night? Is everything ok?” Not only does this help establish relationships in the Learning Center, it also makes each student accountable for his/her work.
Failed PACE Tests are a great opportunity to pray with students. Be sure to mention the concepts that need more diligence. Then make sure the student repeats the entire Pace. This is clearly stated in our Procedures Manual.
LAW #4 The pupil's learning must have appropriate measurement applied to the results.
If you notice many mistakes on one page, this is an indicator the student didn’t understand the lesson. At PCST, we call this a “bloody page.” When supervisors see bloody pages, they make the students get an initial on that page. They may give additional exercises and are sure to discuss the problem areas with the student. This Is another way to ensure that the student understands the material before taking the Checkup.
Requiring an initial before taking a Checkup can greatly push student s to excellence. Check previous pages and review them before allowing students to proceed. It’s best that students master each section before the Checkup.
Excellent work should be rewarded. You can give merit points for 100% on Checkups, Self Tests, and PACE Tests.
LAW #5 The pupil’s learning must receive recognition and reward for its value, effort, and significance.
The following suggestions are some of the things the staff at PCST do to motivate and reward our students.
To minimize their unfinished goals, we, in the Trailblazers (Levels 1-2), encourage students by giving them a reward after finishing their goals by staying in the privilege area. They could read books and play board games. It motivates them to finish their goals right away.
To motivate them to be in the Honor Roll quarterly, we tell them ahead of time what the field trip will be. The admin staff finds places that the students find interesting. For kids, the merit store is also one of their motivations. They look forward to buying their earned merit points.
For Levels 5-6, extra 15 minute breaks are given the following day in the afternoon for the 1st 15 Finished Goals.
Bragging rights are very effective and free! For our elementary levels, there are boards set I up. If you’re the first to finish goals, you place your name on the board. Some Learning Centers even go farther by having additional incentives, like a daily raffle for all who have I finished goals, or wearing of a pin declaring I their “Finished Goals” ranking .
Bulletin boards showcasing students’ achievements every quarter are very encouraging for students. They love having their photos on display for all to see.
These are just some of the ways we can inspire and motivate our students. Speaking as an alumnus myself, I know that these things helped me to always aim for excellence. What a privilege we have as educators to train and mold students!