mujason wrote:Get some new kids that actually want to learn; their desire will eventually pay off.
Before you go bringing in new talent.......
I am assuming that you don't pay the players, and that this is a high school setting. Don't just get rid of the kids. That kind of B.S. is for the cut-throat types who place winning over everything, and think their high school academic team is a professional ball team.
Mlaird, I would start by trying to work with some of the players that are the biggest problem.......get to know what motivates them....challenge them to want to get better......make sure that they enjoy it. I'm not saying plant gumdrop trees and turn practice into a version of "Hair", but try seeing if making it fun helps to motivate them to want to learn. QuizbowlMike had some good suggestions (IMO). One thing that really got my kids motivated (back in the day) was to have a faculty vs. team match...recruit a few teachers to play......the kids loved to get ready to show up the teachers (and they usually won)!
You also need to hold them accountable (as BillNewsome said), and in that case, the embarassment of some defeats can sometimes help with that (especially a local rival, or a team that "you REALLY should have beaten". I'm not sure if your program has any of those.
Don't forget, you are a teacher first and foremost. You don't have the right to throw a kid out of your classroom just because they lack motivation.....you might have the right to throw a kid off your team if they lack motivation, but I think you are throwing away a genuine learning opportunity if you do it sooner rather than later. I would document the "slacking", just in case some angry parent comes at you later. If it is a real concern, and you have a "higher up" in charge of activities, then I would mention it to them.
I knew a coach that made up index cards of short lists (four-five items....like the four DNA bases), and would take the teams on long jogs up and down the hallways and around the school (just like the track team), and would then ask them quesitons.....he claimed that it forced them to concentrate whil they were doing something else, and amde real matches easier (and kept the team healthy). Another coach I knew accumulated points for good answers that they should have learned, and made them contribute to the "kitty" when they flubbed a question that they should have known.....at the end of the year, the highest point total got the kitty (it was low stakes, but the thrill of winning was there.....and for some reason kids will waste money on silly things, but they get upset having to part with a dime if they flub a question).
"The first rule of quiz bowl is that you do not talk about quiz bowl.....Second Rule...last names only!"