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By February 4, 2021No Comments

How I’m Keeping My Students Motivated & On Track For County Finals

-by Pierce Dargan, Presentation Secondary School, Castleisland, Co. Kerry

My name is Pierce Dargan. I am the Student Enterprise Co-ordinator in Presentation Secondary School in Castleisland, Co. Kerry. This is my sixth year in Presentation and my sixth year involved in the Student Enterprise Programme.

Every year we run the Student Enterprise Programme with all First Year’s, and I can proudly say that every student in our school now, has engaged in the Student Enterprise Programme for at least 4 months, when they were in First Year. Five out of the last six years we have entered the Kerry County Final in both the Junior and Intermediate Categories.

Over the six years our school has claimed 21 County and 6 National Titles.

These 6 National Titles have come in the past three years, with two titles in each year:

  • 1st Place – Junior Category 2018 – Complete Cáman
  • IP Award – Junior Category 2018 – Complete Cáman
  • 1st Place – Intermediate Category 2019 – Críos Mhadra
  • IP Award – Junior Category 2019 – Eary Fix
  • 2nd Place – Intermediate Category 2020 – Sála Síos
  • 3rd Place – Junior Category 2020 – Cast Aways

This huge success at County and National levels is down to the dedication and enthusiasm of our students and the support from our school, our students’ families, and the Kerry Local Enterprise Office. The key to our success is making the programme as enjoyable and as fun as possible and the rest looks after itself. I always ensure our students pick ideas they are passionate about, because as I always tell our girls, “If you’re passionate about what you do, it doesn’t feel like work”.

Remote teaching and learning is a challenge for all students, especially those students working as part of teams and projects. The Student Enterprise Programme is like no other this year – with all aspects going virtual.

The following are my thoughts, approaches and tips for teachers to help their students to stay motivated and to aim for success at upcoming County Finals. Despite the restrictions, success can still be achieved from their homes over the coming weeks.

Ways to Keep Students Motivated:

The key to keeping my student enterprise students motivated is to keep in daily contact or at least every second day. I know this might seem like a lot, but I see most of my enterprise students in class and I just ask them to stay online for a few minutes at the end of a live class or if not, I just drop them a quick message on the ‘Enterprise Teams’ I have setup on our online school platform, Microsoft Teams.

Best Approaches:

Setting weekly goals for each group is essential, whether it is to post on social media, carry out a survey on Microsoft Forms or to get as many photos of their product/service as they can, within a 5km radius of course.

Top 3 Useful Tools & Tips:

With no face-to-face contact and with County Finals looming, we must get our students prepped as best we can. I think now more than ever we have the digital tools to keep our students engaged and moving forward.

  1. Firstly, use your online school platform to stay connected with your students. Set up a dedicated enterprise team with each group for regular contact and updates.
  2. Secondly, social media platforms are the key to getting their ideas out there. Set your enterprise teams targets to send out posts regularly. If they have no new information, get them to tell the world about their team, about their story and where their idea came from.
  3. Thirdly, encourage students to use tools like Microsoft Forms or Survey Monkey to get their field research done. Field and desk research are essential for validating students’ product choice or service and is key to impressing the judges at County and National Finals. This can easily be completed from the comfort and safety of their homes.

Take Away Message:

With an extension to the level 5 lockdown for another few weeks, County Finals will approach before we head back to school, but remember all schools and all enterprise students are in the same boat. Each year approximately 29,000 students take part in the Student Enterprise Programme and like the lotto, someone must win and why can’t it be your students???

Remind your students constantly to be positive, be prepared and remember no one knows their product or service better than them, so they should be confident and competent in their ability to wow the judges.

Best of luck to all in the upcoming County Finals!!!