|ROCK CHALLENGE® - FOUR STAGES|
|Peer pressure is a term more commonly associated with negative lifestyle choices such as smoking and use of artificial stimulants, but in terms of Rock Challenge® it is central in helping a school grow a team and encourage participation, especially within the more difficult-to-reach peer groups such as girls in key stages 2 and 3. The following stages of growth have been observed in many Rock Challenge® schools throughout the 16 years the event has existed in the UK.|
In the first year of participation schools typically use a number of techniques to enrol team members, from simply posting adverts on notice boards to advertising within dance and drama classes. In many first-time entry situations teachers will only use students from one class to make it easier to find rehearsal time.
Following a year involved and having attended an event - invariably enjoying the experience - young people start to talk with friends and encourage them to get involved the following year and teams typically grow, roughly doubling in size between year one and two. Teachers are now more comfortable with the process and rehearsals help relationships between students and teachers improve making for a better and more positive atmosphere in classrooms. The young people involved begin to re-define their view of teachers and are enjoying school more in general.
By the third or fourth year of involvement the school team is running close to capacity; relationships between students and teachers are excellent and the general atmosphere within the school is improved. The school has started to use the Rock Challenge® to help in areas in which it struggles. For example, in some schools students are not allowed to participate in Rock Challenge® unless they have 95% attendance or better; the school might then allow under-attending students to attend after-school lessons to catch up and get them to the 95% required to be involved. On average, 10 students per school involved in Rock Challenge® experience improved attendance.
Through increased attendance and enjoyment of school, exam results are improving. Also, through reduced anti-social behaviour and improved citizenship within participants (through mixing with other students they would not normally mix with), graduates are leaving school more socially able and active members of society. In many cases the parents of participants become involved with the schools entry through making scenery or costumes, some remaining involved even after their child has left the school.
This is an idealistic model that, in many cases, is disturbed by elements such as teachers leaving the school, finance, or even difficulty getting participant numbers for the first year of entry. However, this model has been observed in many Rock Challenge® schools. One thing that has continually been proven to make no difference in the success of the concept within the school is success in the competition itself. Whilst a team might grow more quickly following success in the competition, the end results within the school remain similar whatever the degree of success in the competition. The key to the event succeeding and growing within schools is the young people's enjoyment of participation both on the event day and throughout rehearsals; this way positive peer pressure expands participation naturally and teachers can focus on their team and school benefitting as much as possible.