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#14030 - 07/21/00 05:05 PM Motivating More Practice
Eric Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/04/00
Posts: 2325
Loc: New York, NY
There are a number of benefits to having your students record their practice sessions on cassette tapes:
1. These tapes become a great tool for you to hear how they are going about their practice.
2. Listened to with the students, you can suggest better practice strategies.
3. The student has tangible proof of their practice time.
4. With the tape recorder running, my belief is that the student will be more aware of actually accomplishing the assigned tasks, rather than just fooling around!
5. A parent signature on a practice record is no longer required....the proof is right there on tape!

There are two ways I've presented recorded practice to the student and parent:
1. Tell the student that as a teacher you want to learn more about how students practice at home. This can be in the form of a compliment ("You always do such a good job at your lessons, I want to know your secret!")
2. Create a (hopefully healthy) competition between your students. Over a given period of time, the student who fills up the most tapes with practice wins a prize. This is similar to holding a practice contest and adding up minutes....but the tapes are more tangible to a child, and this eliminates any fudging about practice time!
I supply the tapes and re-use them. So, I'll send the student home with three 120-minute cassettes (60 minutes on each side.) The following week, they bring in only tapes that are COMPLETELY FILLED. If they have not filled a cassette completely, they get to continue using that tape the following week. If they were able to fill one entire tape, I give them a clean one to take home. If holding a competition, a chart is helpful, indicating each student's name with how many cassettes they have filled. After you've spot-checked the tapes, they can be recycled in subsequent lessons. It's a bit of a hassle, but I think it's worth it!
You will need to make sure the family has a working tape recorder, of course.

What to expect:
"I actually practiced much more, but I forgot to press record."
"I only filled half a tape this week because our tape recorder broke"
"I filled up ALL THREE CASSETTES!" (This has only happened in my fantasies)

Ideas? Thoughts? Reactions?

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#14031 - 07/21/00 05:14 PM Re: Motivating More Practice
Chenny Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 05/03/00
Posts: 40
I think this is a terrific idea. Last yr. I asked a boy student to tape a session for me and he must have been so nervous cause he became very silly, almost treating the taping like a radio show with DJ talk in between rather poorly practiced music. (This kid is a ham by nature. He's only 9, but reminds me of a miniature Tim Allen). I couldn't help but laugh (not in front of him of course). I'm keeping the tape to play for him when he's older. It was a hoot.

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#14032 - 07/21/00 07:30 PM Re: Motivating More Practice
Scherzo Offline
Regular Member

Registered: 07/14/00
Posts: 92
I think tape recorders are great. Another idea (that I have suggested to parents) is to have the students make a tape to send to their grandparents (or any other relatives that are dear to them). When they know they're creating a gift for special people in their lives, they practice enthusiastically.

Eric: I like the idea of recording the practice sessions to eliminate the need for parents' signatures. And the contest idea sounds great. I doubt the students will cooperate unless there's a prize to win.

[This message has been edited by Scherzo (edited 21 July 2000).]

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