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Old 22nd November 2008, 08:11 PM   #1
a_unique_person
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Today's kids have been over praised - disappointed to find out the are medicore.

Quote:

Are your children all perfect little angels? A generation has been raised to overestimate their abilities.
THEY are calling them the "smug generation". These are the children of American baby boomers who are inculcated by their parents with such faith in their own brilliance that they are shattered in later life to discover that they are not actually much good at anything.
It is, of course, impossible to get things right as a parent. In the old days, it was common, especially in America, for parents to assume the worst of their children and to believe that the only way to bring them success in life was to launch them unprotected upon the world to make their own way. Such parents would unquestioningly accept the verdict of school teachers on their children's abilities, however derogatory, and concur with enthusiasm in their efforts to discipline them. This could make children feel unloved and unappreciated.
Now, according to research by US psychologists, it is the other way round. Modern parents praise and flatter their children to such an extent that they believe they are the cat's whiskers and destined to rise effortlessly to the top of every tree. Teenagers today think they are bound to outshine their parents in all fields - as workers, spouses and as parents themselves - and so succumb to depression when it turns out that they are mediocre at everything.
The researchers found that there are no grounds for these feelings of superiority. Trawling through the results of previous surveys, they concluded that modern teenagers work less hard and are generally less competent than their parents at the same age. They are just a great deal more pleased with themselves.

Still can't quite get that parenting right, can we?
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Old 22nd November 2008, 08:16 PM   #2
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This doesn't surprise me, and it should get worse.

New Zealand introduced a new school testing system which ditched the old method of comparing students to each other - you just pass or fail, and given that you can reattempt failed exercises multiple times, you pretty much have to be lazy to fail at all.

Students are getting quite upset when they enter the real world and discover to their great shock and surprise that when they apply for a job they might not get it!
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Old 22nd November 2008, 09:14 PM   #3
Jeff Corey
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Originally Posted by a_unique_person View Post
Still can't quite get that parenting right, can we?
"The cat's whiskers?' Tells you a bit about the decade that numbnuts is coming from.

HEY YOU NOISEY KIDS< GET OFF MY LAWN<
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Old 22nd November 2008, 09:20 PM   #4
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I'm absolutely certain that the author of that piece doesn't have any psychological "issues" of his own, and isn't at all being passive-aggressive for a host of reasons.
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Old 22nd November 2008, 09:29 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by a_unique_person View Post
Still can't quite get that parenting right, can we?
Well, I have to say, compared to the way it was when I was growing up when shaming and humiliating children was SOP, over praise is preferable. We have always praised our son profusely and unapologetically, but he is also always at the very top of his class and has win 90% of the class awards every year and I fully expect him to be valditorian. He works very hard and burst into tears because he once got an 85 on a test. It turned out the test had been miscorrected and he actually had gotten a high 90.
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Old 22nd November 2008, 10:35 PM   #6
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I recall a bit on NPR with an interview with a human resources professional who lamented that today's new workers, fresh from college, have a totally different approach to working. The applicants have requirements, expect regular and continual feedback/praise, or they move on to the next company. This was several months back, so I doubt anyone's quite so cavalier about leaving a decent job now.

I've actually considered I may have been guilty of overstating my daughter's prospects. Unless she's willing to work like a dog and sacrifice some of her little wants in pursuit of the big goal, she may have to resign herself to a job that allows her enough money to live but not enough to have or do the special things.
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Old 22nd November 2008, 11:34 PM   #7
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As a high school teacher, I've seen way too much of this crap. It just boggles my mind how this mentality has become so deeply settled in our society.

One of my favorite phrases to use on clueless parents when they try clinging to the illusion that their kid is a genius, when they're really just no good at the subject matter I teach (physics)...

"You know, there is a reason why there's only one valedictorian per class, don't you?"

ETA:
Or as the late, great George Carlin once put it: "Kids are like any other group of people - there's a few winners and a whole lot of losers!"

Additional Edit:
"It takes more than caring to be a doctor." <=== One of my favorites
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Old 23rd November 2008, 12:46 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by MattusMaximus View Post
As a high school teacher, I've seen way too much of this crap. It just boggles my mind how this mentality has become so deeply settled in our society.

One of my favorite phrases to use on clueless parents when they try clinging to the illusion that their kid is a genius, when they're really just no good at the subject matter I teach (physics)...

"You know, there is a reason why there's only one valedictorian per class, don't you?"
In 2003, the year before I graduated high school, the class had twelve valedictorians. Grade inflation was insane at that school... you had to really not care to get anything less than a B average.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 12:48 AM   #9
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If a kid bursts into tears because he once got an 85 on a test, instead of 90, he is not well equipped to face the world.

Not only does he always expect to do exceedingly well, he also expects the world to be fair to him.

He has some hard lessons in store for him, that's for sure.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 12:56 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by CFLarsen View Post
If a kid bursts into tears because he once got an 85 on a test, instead of 90, he is not well equipped to face the world.
Because of grade inflation, 85 is the new 60.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 12:57 AM   #11
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Here's a great article which I share with both my students and fellow teachers. It sums up things quite nicely, I think...

Making the Grade

Quote:
Many students wheedle for a degree as if it were a freebie T shirt ...
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Old 23rd November 2008, 01:00 AM   #12
MattusMaximus
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Originally Posted by Highly Selassie View Post
In 2003, the year before I graduated high school, the class had twelve valedictorians. Grade inflation was insane at that school... you had to really not care to get anything less than a B average.


Good grief. And here I thought that I'd heard it all... the teachers and administrators at that school are doing those kids a huge disservice. And, by extension, they aren't doing the rest of us any favors, either.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 01:17 AM   #13
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I saw this report today and can offer two observations. Firstly from my daughter, the Primary School teacher who is challenged whenever she tells parents about their children's misbehaviour, and even worse by my wife, who works part-time as a child carer. She is obliged to tell parents when their toddler bites another child. She is always asked "what did the other child do?" As if their little treasure would ever do anything wrong.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 01:24 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by gumboot View Post
This doesn't surprise me, and it should get worse.

New Zealand introduced a new school testing system which ditched the old method of comparing students to each other - you just pass or fail, and given that you can reattempt failed exercises multiple times, you pretty much have to be lazy to fail at all.

Students are getting quite upset when they enter the real world and discover to their great shock and surprise that when they apply for a job they might not get it!
I think there are two distinct issues here, though.

The 'pass or fail' issues, as a teacher, is something I happen to support. I don't see much point in comparing students. Sure, competition exists and I'm not opposed to encouraging certain competitive endeavours in schools. But when it comes to educating kids, I think there should be a curriculum which makes it plain what you need to do to pass. The old 'bell curve' way of marking is ridiculous and pointless.

On the other hand, if the curriculum is made too easy, then it again creates problems. Of course kids will be in for a shock when their lacklustre study habits do little to help them at university or in a real job. Yet this has little to do with an outcome-based system or with an curriculum that encourages personal achievement over competition.

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Old 23rd November 2008, 02:10 AM   #15
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There is a hell of a difference between someone who can do math just well enough to "pass", and someone who excel at it.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 04:13 AM   #16
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I remember from my child development class in college that the "self esteem" movement in public schools was based on research that showed a strong correlation between positive self image and success in life.

Apparently it wasn't until much later that they thought to question whether causation was really in effect there. A later study showed that prison inmates also had an unusually high self image.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 04:31 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by gumboot View Post
This doesn't surprise me, and it should get worse.

New Zealand introduced a new school testing system which ditched the old method of comparing students to each other - you just pass or fail, and given that you can reattempt failed exercises multiple times, you pretty much have to be lazy to fail at all.

Students are getting quite upset when they enter the real world and discover to their great shock and surprise that when they apply for a job they might not get it!
Well, from my own experience the old system wasnt great either, because students werent always compared nationally. When I did School Certificate science back in the day, it was an internally assessed subject,( in fact the only one I did that didnt have an external end of year exam.) At my school, the classes were streamed by ability. I was placed in the schools top science class, and I was near the bottom of that class. I was a lazy sod at school but I really worked hard in that class. My test scores averaged in the high 60s to low 70s, but most others in the class did better.

Along came our friend Mr Bell Shaped Curve. The raw test scores were adjusted to fit the curve not by the national average but class by class. My scores were routinely adjusted to 37. Meanwhile, in other classes in the same school, doing the same course, kids whose raw scores were in the 40s were being scaled up to the 70s.

I felt then and feel now that my high school science qualification was stolen from me and given to someone who didnt deserve it. The NZQA and my school recorded me as failing a course I simply did not fail.

Not that I'm bitter.

Still, umpteen chances to retry a graded exercise isnt really an improvement.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 04:33 AM   #18
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Was the OP title intentional?

medicore?

I know I am guilty of typos but this amused me...
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Old 23rd November 2008, 04:59 AM   #19
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As a teacher, here's some food for thought. I am held responsible for the performance of the kids in my class. The official policy not just of my school but of UK education is... if kids misbehave in my class, that is my fault. If kids fail to reach their target grades, that is my fault. If the majority of kids do not make progress in any lesson, for ANY reason, that is my fault.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 05:22 AM   #20
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With teachers such Seismosaurus it's no wonder that half of the kids today are below average!


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Seen this in my own family: my nephew is a bright kid, at the top of most of his classes, taking some exams a year early and so on, but my niece (his sister) struggles at school.

It is simply accepted that my nephew is bright but it isn't accepted that my niece is "not bright"; she has to have dyslexia or some other learning disability. Well she does have a learning disability, it's called "less intelligent than the average kid"!

She isn't retarded, she isn't so stupid she can't function, she's plenty of "common sense" and is a really considerate and caring child (her brother is a typical callous, self-centred pre-teen) but that apparently isn't acceptable the school has to do more.

It's sad because it causes nothing but stress for the kid, she is being taught that not being one of the bright kids is something that she should be ashamed of.

I'm not saying that parents shouldn't want the best for their kids and even fight with schools and so on to get the best for their kids but please at least recognise that not every child can be the brightest!
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Old 23rd November 2008, 05:23 AM   #21
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I've heard that a popular belief has been that low self-esteem is really damaging to children, so people were often advised to praise them a lot; but now it's been discovered that high self-esteem is just as damaging if not more so, as this thread illustrates. In fact, I've read and heard that it's been found that when people have an unrealistically high opinion of themselves, it can help perpetuate violence in some cases. A researcher called Roy Baumeister apparently found that prisoners with a record of violent crime often had an unrealistically high opinion of themselves, and would react violently when people didn't treat them as if they were superior. Even minor insults could prompt them to react far more strongly than a lot of people would. One of the fears about low self-esteem was that bullies often had low self-esteem. But they apparently often have overly-high self-esteem.

Research on praise has found several things that are to some extent just common sense, but are interesting findings that are worth taking note of:

I read a book by someone called Stan Davis, about making schools more child-friendly in order to reduce bullying.

He says research has found that one type of praise that can be unhealthy is praise that makes people think they're great or smart or special, or that kind of thing, without them having a good reason to think so, praise that might unintentionally make them think they don't have to try to behave any better because they're so good already. He says he himself has spoken to teachers who've said that when they've told some children they're talented or smart, they've stopped bothering to work hard. Other teachers have said some children describe themselves as kind, even though they hurt others.

He says parents can unwittingly make children think like that. He's found that when they're interviewed, they can admit their children hit or tease others, but say they're kind really.

And he says he's found that if children are taught that they're great or special, they can feel superior to others, and so behave badly towards them, because they think the others are inferior and so not so worthy of being respected. Or they can think they're entitled to praise when they're not.

He talks about what kind of praise is best for children and what kind isn't so good:

One thing he says is that too much praise that can make people think that they're liked because of what they do isn't a good thing, because If children start thinking they're liked or loved because they do well at something or behave well, for instance if they think things like, "My teacher likes me because I don't cause trouble", on the one hand it could motivate them to carry on doing those things, but it can lead them to base their self-worth on what other people think of them, and so they might develop an unhealthy need for the approval of others, not thinking well of themselves unless someone's praising them.

He says that on the other hand, healthy praise influences people to link their opinion of themselves to what they do, regardless of what other people think of them. For instance, when children think things like, "When I work hard, I get higher grades", or, "When I control my temper, I stop myself behaving in a way that gets me into trouble", then they link positive things like their feelings of self-worth to something they can have control of like their behaviour. So that can motivate them to behave better, because they know the benefits for them are likely to increase if they do, so they can make themselves feel better about themselves all by themselves.

Surprising research:

He says it was found in research spanning thirty years that surprisingly, if people were told things like, "You're good at this", or, "I'm proud of you", it could have the same negative effect later when the children were under stress as it did if they had been told things like, "You're a failure", or "I'm disappointed in you". The reason was that if the children had come to think their achievements were all to do with their personality or in-born abilities, or that they were only really approved of when they did well, rather than thinking their achievements had to do with something they could control like their behaviour or the amount of time and effort they put into working on something, they felt helpless when things weren't going well for them, because they weren't so optimistic that they could control things if they tried, and thought they couldn't make others feel good any more because they weren't doing well.

Whether the research findings would be replicated by similar studies, or whether there were flaws in the methodology of the research, I don't know. But it's likely that there was at least some truth in the findings.

The research found that both the children who'd had their personalities praised and those who'd had them criticised tended to avoid difficult tasks, because of their lack of confidence in their abilities to do well in difficult circumstances, which in each case lowered their self-worth so they felt less capable, making the children who'd been told they were talented think they couldn't be that good at things after all, and confirming the children who'd been told they were failures in their beliefs that they were.

Right. That was your daily dose of doom and gloom. Here's the good news:

The research found that what did encourage children to attempt difficult tasks and not to give up on challenges was feedback that complimented them for how hard they were trying, and focused on helping them develop their problem-solving abilities by encouraging them to think of new ways of doing things, for instance, by using sentences like, "You found a good way to do that. Can you think of other ways that would work?" or, "Can you think of anything you can change about the way you're doing this to help you do it better?"

For instance, the researcher suggested that if a child paints a beautiful picture, teachers etc. can spend time admiring it by asking them how they selected the colours and got the inspiration to paint the images the way they did, and that kind of thing. Or if a child successfully solves some complicated maths problems, a teacher can ask admiringly how they worked out how to solve them, and say things that let them know they admire the concentration that went into the effort.

And they can do similar things with behaviour changes they notice in children, like admiring their new self-control and asking them what strategies they've found to control their temper.

Another type of phrase people can use to show students they realise they're making efforts, and to encourage them to stick to them, is one that goes like, "I've noticed you've been staying out of fights. That tells me you're working on getting on with people", or, "I've noticed you're starting schoolwork as soon as the lesson starts and not giving up till you've finished. That tells me you're making a serious effort to learn."

Davis says it's been found that sometimes, children who hadn't intentionally been trying to do what someone said they realised they're doing start doing it deliberately after a compliment like that.

He says another good way of praising children is if teachers/parents remark on the positive results of their actions that they're sure must be happening or that they've seen happening, using comments like, "It's good that now you stay out of fights, you get to spend more free time playing with other kids", or, "Now you don't tease people any more, I notice you're making new friends".

He says when children receive compliments like that, they can start noticing for themselves what differences their behaviour changes are making, so it gives them more incentive to carry on with the changes. They see that their behaviour changes are benefiting them. That gives them far more motivation to carry on changing than if they thought that all that their changes were achieving was making adults pleased with them. He says What will convince them to change most is if they can tell that their own needs for friendship and security and other things are being met better by the changes they're making.

He says it's often better to compliment children privately if possible, especially for people commenting on how they're not bullying so much, to spare them embarrassment in front of others. He says perhaps compliments can be said quietly while walking past their desks, written on a note, or mentioned as teachers pass them in the school hall.

He says when children are praised in ways that strengthen their confidence in their abilities and give them the motivation to continue making efforts, teachers can build up bonds of friendship with them. Children can feel as if teachers care about them if they've taken time to comment on the good things they're doing. If they feel cared for, it can be another incentive for them to behave well.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 10:30 AM   #22
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Just watch a few episodes of the initial shows of America's Next Top Whatever. Although some contestants are there as a joke, others have obviously been encouraged to believe by friends and family that they have an ability and are devastated to be told the truth for the first time in their lives in their early twenties.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 10:42 AM   #23
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I hope whoever it was that came up with the idea of "Progressive Education", of which overpraise is just another symptom,is rotting in hell.
I actually agree that "Grading on the Curve" is a stupid idea. If you are the best of a bunch of ignorant people, you are still ignorant.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 01:28 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
Was the OP title intentional?

medicore?

I know I am guilty of typos but this amused me...
I'm from a different generation, I'm quite happy with my mediocrity.

BTW, if anyone wants the link to the article....

http://www.theage.com.au/world/littl...skin=text-only
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Old 23rd November 2008, 02:02 PM   #25
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At the company where I work we have a test we give to graduate electronic engineers at interviews. Nothing too taxing, 90%+ of the stuff they will have covered at university and is used by engineers on a day-to-day basis.

When we first set the test, we were expecting marks around 75%+. What we have actually found is most candidates struggle to get above 50%. Yet they are be awarded 2.1 and in some cases 1st class degrees. What always amazes me is how much self-esteem they all seem to have, even though they are clearly incompetent.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 02:25 PM   #26
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I've heard that a lot of employers are having to test people now before they decide who to give a job to, because standards at schools and some universities have dropped so much that it's difficult to choose between people otherwise. But there's a huge variation between the standard of education you can get at some universities and the standard at others, particularly between the best and some of the ones that used to be polytechnics, although I think often the standards in those vary from subject to subject.

So it may be that the less gifted people who've been to universities with lower standards are actually getting better grades than brighter students at better universities, and so thinking better of themselves than people who are genuinely more gifted.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 03:53 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Baby Nemesis View Post
*snip*
So it may be that the less gifted people who've been to universities with lower standards are actually getting better grades than brighter students at better universities, and so thinking better of themselves than people who are genuinely more gifted.
But that's always been true. I've always taken it for granted that my Magna cum laude from my (then) new offshoot university was worth less than a Harvard Magna cum laude or even one from the main university. Nowadays, UMBC is well respected, but I went there before there was a reputation or even trees. It was much more of a party school then and although I worked really hard and there other very bright students, on the average there wasn't much competition. That affects the "curve."

On the other hand, I also see the effects of "over praising." I see new workers at the library who are genuinely puzzled as to why we would ask them to do things differently or why they can't just flout the rules.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 04:05 PM   #28
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Self esteem comes from mastery of something, or at least the confidence that "I can do that."

It can't be artificially created. So, find a way to help someone master something. It matters not what. Model building. Bed making. Shoe polishing. Harmonica playing. Spelling. Memorizing numbers in the multiplication table or the digits in pi. Encourage mastery at something, and refer to it often enough that it needs to be used.

That builds confidence and self esteem.

Every coach knows this. Most teachers do, and what is funny is that they may not be allowed to do it. Any parent who does not know this needs to be taught this basic principle.

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Old 23rd November 2008, 04:17 PM   #29
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This is at odds with the Scottish cringe whereby we think if we can do it or pass it then it must have been crap in the first place. A particularly dour form of Calvinism is at least partially to blame I think. Someone remarked the other day that since the economic crisis Gordon Brown seems finally at ease. "We are doooooomed - isn't it bloody marvellous" perhaps?

We haven't cracked the first step yet to worry about having to compensate for over-confidence. My son was accepted by three good universities having obtained good grades in physics, maths, technology, computing etc., but still thinks he is making up the numbers. It has got so that after two years at Uni, I have agreed he take a gap year and work for a while to develop a bit of self confidence. Of course he might enjoy working and never go back but it seems the only practical solution.

My daughter had a T Shirt "School prepares you for life - which also sucks" I am reasonably confident her expectations are not too high.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 04:29 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Nogbad View Post
My daughter had a T Shirt "School prepares you for life - which also sucks" I am reasonably confident her expectations are not too high.
Your daughter gets my vote for best t-shirt of the week. Please pass on to her my thanks for a wry chuckle, from across the pond. Made my day. Well, that, and the Cowboys won.

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Old 23rd November 2008, 04:35 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Carnivore View Post
Well, from my own experience the old system wasnt great either, because students werent always compared nationally. When I did School Certificate science back in the day, it was an internally assessed subject,( in fact the only one I did that didnt have an external end of year exam.) At my school, the classes were streamed by ability. I was placed in the schools top science class, and I was near the bottom of that class. I was a lazy sod at school but I really worked hard in that class. My test scores averaged in the high 60s to low 70s, but most others in the class did better.

Along came our friend Mr Bell Shaped Curve. The raw test scores were adjusted to fit the curve not by the national average but class by class. My scores were routinely adjusted to 37. Meanwhile, in other classes in the same school, doing the same course, kids whose raw scores were in the 40s were being scaled up to the 70s.

I felt then and feel now that my high school science qualification was stolen from me and given to someone who didnt deserve it. The NZQA and my school recorded me as failing a course I simply did not fail.

Not that I'm bitter.

Still, umpteen chances to retry a graded exercise isnt really an improvement.

When were you at school, if I may ask? That sounds insane, to use the bell curve by class. They certainly didn't do that when I was at school - only national exams for School Certificate and Bursary/UE were scaled.

I would be bitter if I was you too.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 04:38 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by LibraryLady
But that's always been true. I've always taken it for granted that my Magna cum laude from my (then) new offshoot university was worth less than a Harvard Magna cum laude or even one from the main university.
But some people might not be so aware of differences. I've had experience of being taught at both a very good university and a frankly appalling one, and the difference was very evident to me. At the appalling one, several people studying with me dismissed the course as nonsense; but interestingly, two people said to me that they really appreciated it. Both said they'd had no formal education to speak of. So I realised that if you've got nothing to compare a course with, you might think it's much better than you would if you were used to higher standards.

So it's feasible that someone passing such a course could feel far more confident in themselves than they should, if employers are expecting people to come up to the standards they would if they'd got such a grade at a higher-quality university, but they don't realise. They might assume their grades are equivalent to those at better universities, because apart from the really prestigious universities, they might not realise many others are better. I actually think it's a pity that such people are happy to settle for bad teaching because they don't realise there's much better teaching available.

Here's a recent article about falling standards/grade inflation: Degree system 'rotten' and 'unreliable,' says university watchdog.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 04:51 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Seismosaurus View Post
As a teacher, here's some food for thought. I am held responsible for the performance of the kids in my class. The official policy not just of my school but of UK education is... if kids misbehave in my class, that is my fault. If kids fail to reach their target grades, that is my fault. If the majority of kids do not make progress in any lesson, for ANY reason, that is my fault.

Ugh... this is exactly why my sister chose to teach at a low decile (low socio-economic zone) school - to avoid irritating interfering "I know best" parents with unrealistic expectations of their precious (average) little darling (demon). Having said that, you still can't escape it.

She had a student in her class (10 and 11yr olds) who was dangerously disruptive - physically assaulting other students, never did what he was told, had a disturbing obsession with my sister (she's not very big). And yeah, he was 10 or 11 but it was a disturbing obsession as in "I'm going to rape and murder you when I'm older". He kept demanding to have her father's contact details so he could have his own father arrange a marriage with her father.

Anyway... really really creepy little creature.

They have the parent teacher meetings, so my sister is all geared up to give the mother some hard words about controlling her (possibly) psychotic son.

Instead the mother comes in outraged that her son is doing so poorly academically because she just knows he's not stupid, so my sister must be doing something wrong. And then she demands that my sister provide her son extra tuition one-on-one outside school hours. This being a child that female teachers have been explicitly told by the school they are not allowed to be in a room alone with.

Some parents seriously need slap around the head with a wet dose of reality.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 05:48 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by gumboot View Post
When were you at school, if I may ask? That sounds insane, to use the bell curve by class. They certainly didn't do that when I was at school - only national exams for School Certificate and Bursary/UE were scaled.

I would be bitter if I was you too.
This was 1991 at Shirley Boys High in Christchurch. It was only School Cert science that was affected, because that was the only School C subject that I did that was internally assessed. I dont know if that was their regular policy, or if they simply screwed up the scaling. It struck me as insane also, and when I queried it at the time, my teachers seemed quite embarassed.

re your sister's situation: (shudder). Teaching seems to be becoming about the most thankless profession going, as if education is something you can send back and get redone if you dont like the taste.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 06:31 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by athon View Post
The 'pass or fail' issues, as a teacher, is something I happen to support.
I disagree, vehemently. I don't want my child to "pass". I don't want my child to do "good enough" *. I want him to excel in those subjects where he is capable of excelling. I constantly see "good effort" put on assignments with lots of errors. Hogwash. He did great on the last assignment. He did great on the assignment after. Why do they suppose he did lousy on that assignment? It's because it wasn't a "good effort", but they felt the need to praise him anyway. You wouldn't want to hurt the boy's self esteem.

*Or even well enough, but that's not important. It passes.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 08:02 PM   #36
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How about paying kids to go to school? You think they'll be surprised when they go to work and don't get $20 for being on time?
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Old 24th November 2008, 07:59 AM   #37
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I guess, then, most people choose to earn a low income performing menial labor.

Not everyone can be a millionaire. Who would fix your car; build your house; sew your socks; dispose of your trash; prepare your Big Mac? Ironically, if everyone were millionaires, money would be worthless.

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Old 24th November 2008, 08:18 AM   #38
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All this reminds me of when my son was taking Algebra II. He was struggling, so I set up a meeting with the teacher.
She obviously thought I was one of the parents described in the posts above, so she came prepared with the Head of the department to back her up.
They were shocked, visibly, when I told them I wanted his grades to reflect the mastery of the subject, and that I would work with them and him to get him to a REAL "C" mastery - That I was not worried about his grades--I wanted him to know the subject, and that since, as an engineer, I had my own way of doing things, did not want to confuse the kid with conflicting methods and techniques.
They were flabbergasted, and it took them 20 minutes to see I was serious. We got along fine, thereafter, although I still feel his grades were inflated--but so were all the others...
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Old 24th November 2008, 08:32 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
I saw this report today and can offer two observations. Firstly from my daughter, the Primary School teacher who is challenged whenever she tells parents about their children's misbehaviour, and even worse by my wife, who works part-time as a child carer. She is obliged to tell parents when their toddler bites another child. She is always asked "what did the other child do?" As if their little treasure would ever do anything wrong.
Well, usually when two kids are fighting, it's not one-sided. Both kids usually did something.

That's true for adults, too: there are almost always two sides to every story.

I think that some children are coddled and adults are fed cliches about every child being special and unique but I don't think teachers and parents should dismiss their students' potential or underestimate their intelligence. That's as bad as grinding at them too hard and overestimating them.

The average high school student is perfectly capable of decent work; saying "he's just bad" won't make him better and will very likely make him worse.
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Old 24th November 2008, 08:39 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by gumboot View Post
Some parents seriously need slap around the head with a wet dose of reality.
About a year and a half ago, I met my Junior high English and Swedish teacher, who was out having a beer and enjoying her first day of retirement. She said that back when I was a student of hers (very early 1980s), if a kid was causing trouble and she called their home, their parents would give the kid a good talking-to. Today, they give her the talking-to.

Needless to say, she appeared to be real happy to have all that behind her.
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