Every fortnight, a group of Year 11 Tikipunga High School students, come together for a homework club. This group has been pulled together by Year 10/11 Navigator Mo, who felt it necessary for her Dreamers to have a space to focus on their studies, given it is their NCEA year.
“We’ve been running the homework club for the entire year. I sought the students buy-in initially, as I wanted this to be a space they felt it important to come to versus something forced upon them”, says Mo.
Around 50% of Mo’s Year 11 students turn up each fortnight, both Dreamers and non-Dreamers, and they’re supported by volunteers and teachers. The remaining students have their progress monitored by Mo during in-class time. However, Mo has been really encouraged by the consistent turn out of these students and support staff to the Homework Club.
“There has been an awesome collaboration with the teachers. They recognise that many of the theory-based subjects are difficult, so they’ve either attended these sessions to provide some much needed 1:1 support for these students or shared helpful hints for me to help them with their work”, Mo said.
The group starts with some kai and talking about how they’re going that week. They then get stuck into work. The students generally work on subjects where they need the most help or where they need to play catch up. On any given day, you may see student Nephi or Thomas working with volunteer Terry on numeracy strategies, Intern Kayla supporting students such as Aliz’e Henare-Thompson, with English and Health assessments and art boards being completed for submission. It’s important to Mo and the volunteers that they don’t do the work for these students, but instead provide clarity to questions being asked and offer leading questions so the students can come up with answers themselves. This is having a positive effect with the students.
“With the help of Kayla and Terry, we are working hard to develop interest towards homework and an overall positive attitude to ako (learning),” says Mo.
Aside from focusing on their work, there are other positive consequences arising from the homework club. The space has created a sense of belonging for many students. Research shows students who report a high sense of belonging in school generally put in more effort and are more motivated. On the flip side, a low sense of belonging is associated with negative, possibly antisocial or delinquent, behaviours such as misbehaviour, drug and alcohol use at school, violence and dropping out of school. Thankfully, Mo and the teachers have encouraged some positive outcomes, by way of extra commitment and effort from the students in their every day activities.
Sometimes, it is the most simple of activities, which creates the most profound change.
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