Question Detail

Motivating disengaged girls?

Jan 24, 2014 10:01am

I am a student teacher, and I am having a really tough time with a couple of girls who have very poor attitudes and do not want to work. What have you done to specifically help engage girls? Any general ideas as well as those specific to science would help!

  • Science
  • 10-12
  • Engagement / New Teachers


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    • Jan 24, 2014 2:23pm

      First of all, it is great for these girls and all the girls you will be teaching to have you as an example/role model as a woman in the field of science. If you have not yet had a chance to see this video, I would check it out:

      • Jan 29, 2014 6:27am


        I would pull them aside and talk to them. Ask them, "What's up?" and find out why they are disengaged. There is an amazing book called "Lost at School" which explores misbehavior and disengagement in terms of missing executive functioning skills. I would definitely read it and then take some time to talk to the girls. Lauren is right, you are a great role model and you're in a position where you can give these girls a chance to explain how they are feeling and why they have poor attitudes. Sometimes just making that connection can improve behavior.


        • Feb 9, 2014 7:40am

          Perhaps these girls have already experienced a lot of failure in school. If so, they may already have a defeatist attitude and you will need to do whatever you can to help them feel successful. If this is not the case and the girls are just not interested in science, perhaps you could find out what their interests are and use that information to help plan some lessons. Perhaps read/tell stories about female scientists who have contributed greatly to society. Also, are their responsibilities you could give these girls to help them feel they are an integral part of the class? Could they take roll, grade some papers, get out materials, etc. I also always tell my student teachers that when they are having problems with a class or certain students, that they should look at themselves and ask if anything they are doing or saying is contributing to the problem. I wish you luck because girls with disinterested attitudes can really be a problem!

          • Feb 11, 2014 2:45pm

            Find ways to show interest in them personally--watch them perform in the school play, visit their sporting event, send an email or call home to report on something they are doing well. I have often found that when students receive attention in positive ways, they won't look for it in negative ways.