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Yet another innovative defiance of common sense

Education Honor Rolls Underachiever Embarrassment

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#41 Cyncie

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 11:13 AM

This whole discussion assumes, though, that all kids can achieve within the existing system if they're just properly motivated to do so. That's just not true. Some kids don't fit the system, and the system can't accommodate them. Kids with learning disabilities, or physical disabilities are not "underachievers" by choice, but they often get left behind when schools insist on rigid adherence to traditional means of evaluating progress.  No matter how hard they work, they can't perform "honor roll" quality unless the system will bend enough to let them.

It is true, though, that this is less of a problem than it used to be. School districts are becoming aware of the need to make greater accommodations to children who have identified disabilities. But, there are a lot of other things that can negatively impact a child's school performance that are harder to get a handle on, such as mild ADHD or sensory integration disorders.  It's simplistic to dismiss concerns by saying "underachievers can do it too, if they just work harder." Some can, some can't. And the school's responsibility is to all of the children, not just the ones who can.

I admire Cardie's 30 years of dedication to the classroom. That's a great achievement in and of itself. And, I'm happy so many here have had positive experiences with their school systems. But, before I'm dismissed as an idealist right out of education school, you should know that I've spent the last 20 years working directly with those kids who have been left behind by school systems entrenched in traditional ideologies that don't work for them. In twenty years we've seen a lot of progress in removing the educational barriers for these students, but there's still a lot of room for improvement.

Am I saying do away with the honor roll? No. It can serve as a useful motivator if it's used wisely. I am suggesting we consider the fact that, for some children, it's not enough to just say "try harder".

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#42 Drew

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 11:34 AM

QueenTiye, on Jan 29 2004, 08:39 AM, said:

Mikoto, on Jan 29 2004, 08:59 AM, said:

What is dodgeball exactly? It sounds awful.  :blink:
it is.
It's not at all awful.  :p

It was the most fun thing we ever did in PE. (And no, I wasn't all that good, but at least it was better than running laps or playing more organized sports at which there was a greater gap between the skilled and the unskilled.)
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#43 Norville

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 11:49 AM

Quote

QT (who was horrible at every sport, without exception

Hey, same here, and it was so *embarrassing*. Well, dodgeball was fun... that doesn't mean I was good at it, though. Tetherball, if you can call that a sport, was fun. Most everything else was incredibly embarrassing to attempt to play. Sports create a sense of team playing? That must be why I'm not the best team player even now at work, because any attempt at sports left me feeling quite humiliated by my own inability and by the team's reaction... :crazy:
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#44 Rhys

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 12:06 PM

Cyncie, on Jan 29 2004, 11:11 AM, said:

This whole discussion assumes, though, that all kids can achieve within the existing system if they're just properly motivated to do so. That's just not true. Some kids don't fit the system, and the system can't accommodate them.
I don't agree with that interpretation of the conversation.  In fact, I think it's closer to the motivation behind the original decision.  No, the Honour Roll doesn't work for everyone, but the school board decided that, because of that, they needed to take it away.  They seem to be looking for something that works equally for everyone (and the only approach that's going to accomplish that goal is aiming to do nothing!)  They need to keep the Honour Roll and similar things for students that it helps, and find other incentives/approaches for other students.

It seems that there's a common opinion out there, behind the whole Political Correctness movement, that "everyone is equal" means "everyone is the same", and if we find that, for example, all children in the class are not the same, we need to try to make them the same.  What we should be aiming for is the ability to recognize the differences, and value them: "Sure, Billy isn't on the honour roll, but he's a good baseball player, and a really nice guy!"

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#45 Cyncie

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 12:33 PM

Rhys, on Jan 29 2004, 05:04 PM, said:

What we should be aiming for is the ability to recognize the differences, and value them
Absolutely right. No disagreement there. But, you see, I didn't advocate removing the honor roll, just placing it in perspective. I just felt that a lot of the posts seemed to make blanket statements that underachievers were not succeeding because they just weren't trying hard enough, and that's just not always the case.

I don't advocate political correctness. That's not good for anyone. But, I do believe in a school system that takes differences into account, and allows for success within those differences.  A One Size Fits All approach to education fails a lot of kids.
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#46 prolog

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 01:10 PM

QueenTiye, on Jan 29 2004, 02:39 PM, said:

Mikoto, on Jan 29 2004, 08:59 AM, said:

What is dodgeball exactly? It sounds awful.  :blink:
it is.  Dodgeball is a game where the goal is to take a huge scary looking ball and throw it at someone on the opposing team - if you hit them, they are out.  The team with the last player(s) standing wins.  Or - this version that is talked about here, which I never learned, where, instead of being out, you fall back to second ranks. (How does someone win that one? Points?)

QT (who was horrible at every sport, without exception)
Two teams.  Initially, both teams are on the dodgeball court.

Usually, there's two or more balls (this makes it more interesting).  Balls are thrown, and anyone hit goes behind the opponent's court.  They can grab any ball that makes it there, and hurl it at the opposing team.  Any player hit in this way also has to go behind the opponent's court.

The winning team is the first team to have non-zero players left on the main court.

#47 Cardie

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 02:38 PM

Cyncie, I'm pretty sure that the parents agitating for the end of the honor roll were not the parents of differently abled children.  From my experience, these are parents of kids who do quite well but don't make the honor roll, and these parents are so peeved that they can't put a "My child is an honor roll student" bumper sticker on the car that they want to take the chance away from everyone.  I think we should rather be teaching kids that everyone has areas in which they excel and for which they should be recognized, and that if you make B's or C's, it's not the end of the world.  You may be good at sports or building things or art or music or cooking or kindness.  But why should the person who is good at acadmics have to forever eschew praise and rewards so that all those who can get praise and rewards for what they do best won't feel bad in the academic arena.

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#48 Delvo

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 02:48 PM

Actually, this "everyone's good/excels at something" stuff is another version of the same thing that motivates abolition honor rolls and such. The statement is quite simply untrue; we all know that some people are better than normal at multiple things and some aren't really very good at anything, even if they're not bad at most things, and some are actually bad at multiple things... meanwhile, even when and where it is true that two people could be said to have excelled at different things, we all also know that it's often far from equal anyway because one is more outstanding at his/her specialty than the other... or two people who supposedly have the same specialty aren't equal at it.

And since it is so clearly untrue and it's just the same thing in a different costume, kids can see right through it just as easily. It won't do any good to replace one fake-equalization plattitude for placating the mediocre and the inferior with another.

Edited by Delvo, 29 January 2004 - 02:50 PM.


#49 Mikoto

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 02:48 PM

So what happens if someone throws it at you and you catch it? Does simple touch of the ball count as a "hit"?

I'm gad we didn't do this at my school, I'd have been used as target practise with kids throwing the balls at me as hard as they could.
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#50 jon3831

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 05:10 PM

^If you catch the ball, you can then throw it back at the other team. If you try to catch and it bounces off your hand, you're out.

In elementary school, they used foursquare balls. They were rubber, so they didn't hurt when they hit.

In junior high and high school? Volleyballs or basketballs. Why? So we were motivated to get out of the way.
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#51 Drew

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 05:41 PM

jon3831, on Jan 29 2004, 04:08 PM, said:

In junior high and high school? Volleyballs or basketballs. Why? So we were motivated to get out of the way.
Basketballs? That's cruel. Volleyballs, at least, are designed to bounce off various body parts.

We always used those red rubber balls. And often very large nerf-style balls.
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#52 jon3831

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 06:09 PM

Drew, on Jan 29 2004, 02:39 PM, said:

jon3831, on Jan 29 2004, 04:08 PM, said:

In junior high and high school? Volleyballs or basketballs. Why? So we were motivated to get out of the way.
Basketballs? That's cruel. Volleyballs, at least, are designed to bounce off various body parts.

We always used those red rubber balls. And often very large nerf-style balls.
They only tried the basketballs a handful of times before the Wrath of the Main Office came down on 'em...

It was a whole lot of not fun in the interim, though. :|
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#53 Cyncie

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 07:02 PM

Cardie, on Jan 29 2004, 07:36 PM, said:

Cyncie, I'm pretty sure that the parents agitating for the end of the honor roll were not the parents of differently abled children.  From my experience, these are parents of kids who do quite well but don't make the honor roll, and these parents are so peeved that they can't put a "My child is an honor roll student" bumper sticker on the car that they want to take the chance away from everyone.  I think we should rather be teaching kids that everyone has areas in which they excel and for which they should be recognized, and that if you make B's or C's, it's not the end of the world.  You may be good at sports or building things or art or music or cooking or kindness.  But why should the person who is good at acadmics have to forever eschew praise and rewards so that all those who can get praise and rewards for what they do best won't feel bad in the academic arena.

Cardie

Cardie... Agreed. Absolutely. I understand. That's the way it should be. But...

Quote

It won't do any good to replace one fake-equalization plattitude for placating the mediocre and the inferior with another.

Are we there yet?

~Cyn

edit: to fix quotes

Edited by Cyncie, 29 January 2004 - 08:49 PM.

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#54 QueenTiye

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Posted 04 February 2004 - 11:13 AM

Further to this conversation - my son's 4th grade class had a record 48% of the class make either honor roll or principle's list.  My son was surprised that 9 kids (including himself) made Principle's list (straight A's) while 6 made honor roll (As & Bs).  He had the idea that the ratio should be reversed - sorta like a pyramid.  But I thought of this thread and wanted to post this.  The accomplishment here was a combination of a persistent and determined teacher who regularly (twice or more a week) communicates directly to the parents what's going on in the classroom, a consistent reward for LEARNING (if a kid makes errors on a test, s/he is allowed to take it home, look up the answers, correct the test, for an improved grade averaging the original score with the revised one), and hard work (homework counts a significant portion of the grade).  I'm aware of the Top up thinking that influences my son, but I'm sure glad that there is an attainable reward for the hard work these kids put in.  

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#55 WildChildCait

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 08:05 AM

Norville said
Hey, same here, and it was so *embarrassing*. Well, dodgeball was fun... that doesn't mean I was good at it, though. Tetherball, if you can call that a sport, was fun. Most everything else was incredibly embarrassing to attempt to play. Sports create a sense of team playing? That must be why I'm not the best team player even now at work, because any attempt at sports left me feeling quite humiliated by my own inability and by the team's reaction

Norville, I've never heard it so aptly put. Thank you.
You have just expressed what i've been trying to for years
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#56 Godeskian

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 08:42 AM

the problem of course, for you Norville (i think) and Chaddee, and myself, (and for that matter a substantial percentage of EI'rs that i've met or conversed with at length) is that we were raised to regard accomplishments as a goal, rather than the goal being to 'fit in with the team'

Both Chaddee and i were archtypical misfits at school, were 'problem students' , we asked too many questions (and most likely contributed to at least two incompetent teachers getting fired) detested team sports and frankly 'didn't fit in'

I kinda think we've turned out okay though :)

Edited by Godeskian, 05 February 2004 - 08:43 AM.

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#57 QueenTiye

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 08:49 AM

Interesting theory - but I don't view "fitting in with the team" and "accomplishments" as opposites.  Or rather - "fitting in" is not the goal of a team - winning (accomplishment) is.  A team works together to win, and everyone finds their place toward a winning joint effort.

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#58 Godeskian

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 09:08 AM

but in team sports you are penalised as much at school for 'not fitting in' as for anything else

When we used to be at school i was pretty good at sports i played as singletons, but i sucked extremely at team sports, because my basic attitude in life is that I want to take responsibily for my own failures and my own successes

you can never ever do that if you are 'part of a team' because it was a team effort to succeed, and you never take responsibility for losing because 'the entire team lost'

i will never be a team player, because i absolutely abhor the idea of someone else getting credit for my work, or unjustly taking the blame for my screwup

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#59 Delvo

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 09:34 AM

Winning is a goal, but in team sports it isn't an individual goal. The only way to blend the two mental constructs then is to know your role in the team and take that as your individual goal. I know I always preferred sports where different people had their own special tasks to perform separate from the others, like football, over the less organized and structured ones, like soccer and basketball (which still bore me to watch to this day).

If anything's turned me off of "being a team player", it wasn't sports but regular class work assigned to groups and graded for the group. I always managed to get stuck with worthless schlocks that would do nothing.

#60 QueenTiye

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 09:34 AM

Godeskian, on Feb 5 2004, 09:06 AM, said:

but in team sports you are penalised as much at school for 'not fitting in' as for anything else

When we used to be at school i was pretty good at sports i played as singletons, but i sucked extremely at team sports, because my basic attitude in life is that I want to take responsibily for my own failures and my own successes

you can never ever do that if you are 'part of a team' because it was a team effort to succeed, and you never take responsibility for losing because 'the entire team lost'

i will never be a team player, because i absolutely abhor the idea of someone else getting credit for my work, or unjustly taking the blame for my screwup
hmmm.  Well.... This is a little off topic, but since the topic is about children's achievements in school, I guess it's related.

If you were made to feel that way in team sports, I think you had an unfortunate experience.  Teams can't win if individuals can't be responsible for their contribution - and take their contribution seriously.    On a team, you have the right to berate an INDIVIDUAL who sat down on the job, because they hurt the team, and you have a right to individual accolades when you do a spectacular job that helps the team.  Yes, the team wins or the team loses, but everyone has a part to play - and that's ultimately supposed to be the lesson of team play.  It has nothing to do with "fitting in" - it has to do with recognizing the goal, your part in it, and performing as required - and sometimes, picking up the slack for someone else who isn't.

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