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New Teachers Online: How-To Articles: Use New Technology to Reinforce Instruction

Using Media to Teach the Uninvolved Student
Nancy Powell

Uninvolved Underachiever sits in the back of the room in each of his classes. He doesn't see any reason to do assignments, so he doesn't even attempt them. He doesn't like being an active participant in a group, nor does he want to do anything that requires him to speak in class. He doesn't really have any friends that he feels a need to talk to. He could even be taking his classes for the second or third time. 

Do you have this student in your class? Well, don't give up on him! Get him involved in a class project without forcing him to be a part of a group. Find a job for this student creating something that would be helpful to the other students. A perfect job just might be one where, initially, he thinks he doesn't have to work with a group . But by the end of the project, he will not only have had to work with one group but will have ended up working with all of the groups. Maybe each group needs a card to send people to set up interviews for a class project, maybe they need posters or signs for a drama production, or maybe they need to find resources on the Internet to do their research. Or, give him a digital camera to take some pictures for the project. By spending a little time and making a personal contact with Uninvolved Underachiever, you may be able not only to reach him but also to teach him some technology skills or discover that the skills are already available to be utilized. At the end of the project, Uninvolved Underachiever may have learned a few personal and social skills so that he could meet the needs of the group as they came to him with their requests.

On the next projects, Uninvolved Underachiever may still want to work alone, but eventually he'll decide to play a more advanced role for the groups, such as analyzing data, making recommendations on their work, creating computer documents, etc. As the projects continue, groups will begin to ask him to join them because they've learned to value his technology skills, and isn't that what he needed - someone to value him? Uninvolved Underachiever will then be ready to change his name to something more enthusiastic, valued, and successful!


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