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Teaching your kids

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 12:07 pm
by mlaird
OK, all of you coaches out there, I'm pretty new to the coaching business, and I was wondering what type of things you do to help your kids to learn new things. They don't have enough will to pick up a list and memorize, let alone learn details. I've tried all sorts of things, from using the blackboard, overhead projections, to board games. Nothing I do can get these kids to retain information.

Re: Teaching Your Kids

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 12:29 pm
by Bill Newsome
I think students learn best when you hold them accountable for the content. It may not work well just to give them lists or study packets and tell the students to learn the information, but I think it will work better if you quiz the students over the information and use those quizzes as well as the time they put into after school practices to determine who plays on the starting positions in quiz bowl. Granted, this works best if you have a larger team with more students competing for the same spots.

--Bill Newsome

Posted: Fri Oct 15, 2004 8:01 am
by quizbowlmike
I know exactly what you're going through. Last year, my team would not study or go out of their way to learn anything extra. Heck, some of them even stopped going to classes as seniors. The only way they are going to pick up stuff and try to learn it on their own is if they want to. Getting them to want to learn it is the tricky thing.

I found, that if I played against my kids on the buzzers they were more motivated to answer questions. That, and if I got a question, it was usually on some sort of information that "every good quizbowler should know." So they might also get a better idea of what to learn.

Taking notes at practice can also be effective. At least making them write down the answers can help them to pick up names and other key answers that come up a lot.

Finally, I provided financial incentives for getting the most questions at a practice, or for doing the best on the quiz at practice. I would just take $5 off the cost of their share of the cost for the next trip.

Good luck.

Posted: Fri Oct 15, 2004 4:35 pm
by mujason
Get some new kids that actually want to learn; their desire will eventually pay off.

Posted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 2:08 am
by Admiral
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).