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to think that these kinds of comments are at best unhelpful (school--related)

(33 Posts)
pippiLS Tue 24-Jun-14 10:35:35

So things like:

'Presentation has let you down.'


'Basic writing errors are letting you down.'

DS is in Y5 and we are off to see his two form teachers today. Related thread here.

I'm starting to feel like they could be doing more to help DS to achieve his potential. He is a hard working boy who wants to do well but possibly needs more guidance from his teachers.

AIBU in thinking that the above comments (taken from DS's literacy book) are not going to help him much. Should I mention this to his teachers today?

SaucyJack Tue 24-Jun-14 10:43:11

Unless I've missed a backstory, then yes YABU.

The little comments you've posted both seem perfectly clear about the problem is, whilst also being quite polite.

They can't make your son do his work perfectly.

WorraLiberty Tue 24-Jun-14 10:43:30

Well it depends

If all they're doing is writing comments without giving support in the classroom, then it's unhelpful.

But if they're giving support at school, the comments are valid imo.

Sillylass79 Tue 24-Jun-14 10:52:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sillylass79 Tue 24-Jun-14 10:54:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hakluyt Tue 24-Jun-14 11:00:30

Is that it- or are there other comments too?

For example, at my ds's school they mark with WWW= what went well (a couple of positive comments) followed by EBI =even better if.

The last piece of writing my ds did had "WWW- great ideas, a mature and sophisticated piece of writing. EBI - you had proof read properly and thought about how you presented your work" (just copying from his book on the kitchen table- I don't memorise his marks!)

pippiLS Tue 24-Jun-14 11:03:12

Sillylass, yes, your feedback sound much more useful.

Having looked through DS's books I can see that where it is obvious that he has done something 'wrong' e.g. left the units off a quantity in science, he does fix his mistakes.

it's the 'have let you down' that doesn't sit right with me. It sounds a bit doom and gloom…like there's nothing you can do about it now, this work is sub-standard and you did it so you are sub-standard too. DS is a deep-thinker and I wouldn't be surprised if he was thinking along these lines. I haven't discussed the comments with him btw. perhaps i should.

pippiLS Tue 24-Jun-14 11:07:00

Hakluyt, that's the sort of thing they used to do at his previous school and it is really helpful. Do you think I could mention something like this to this teachers this afternoon or will they be offended?

mommy2ash Tue 24-Jun-14 11:08:38

i don't understand the problem. if aspects of his work are letting him down and the teacher is saying so just work with him to fix his errors.

Hakluyt Tue 24-Jun-14 11:09:06

So there are no positive comments at all?

pippiLS Tue 24-Jun-14 11:17:36

No positive comments to counteract the negative ones although there are other comments such as 'great work' etc on other pieces of work.

The context to the meeting this afternoon is that DS's progress in literacy seems to have stalled and his teacher thinks that he is coasting. From what I can see he continues to want to do well and is prepared to put in the effort - he has set his sights on doing the 11+ this September (out of County).

Sillylass79 Tue 24-Jun-14 11:37:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hakluyt Tue 24-Jun-14 11:40:35

When you sat down with him and the piece of work and said "What do you think your teacher means by "presentation has let you down"?"what did he say?

pianodoodle Tue 24-Jun-14 11:42:22

Eh? Isn't it obvious what the teacher is saying?

I don't see what's wrong with it.

ChocolateBiscuitCake Tue 24-Jun-14 11:49:24

This kind of feedback really erks me - its lazy! Kids need specific, helpful targets to improve their writing (I am an ex-KS2 teacher).

Instead of:
Presentation has let you down
something beneficial like:

I would like to see you
+ Underline your title
+ use a sharp pencil
+ leave a line between paragraphs
+ use neat, joined up handwriting

These should then be written (by him or the teacher) at the top of his next piece of work so that he can use then as a checklist.

pippiLS Tue 24-Jun-14 12:00:47

Hakluyt, writing neatly doesn't come easily to DS, he always has to try hard to make his writing presentable, he is pleased if it all sits on the lines. He is then sad when the only feedback he gets is 'your presentation has let you down'.

Sillylass, I like your advice about playing dumb.

On the whole I tend to respect teachers' professionalism and leave them to get on with things in good faith. What I'm finding difficult about the up and coming meeting is that by suggesting that DS is coasting, his teachers are absolving themselves of any responsibility for his progress. Does anyone else read it that way or is that just me over-reacting?

pippiLS Tue 24-Jun-14 12:03:17

ChocolateBiscuitCake, yes! DS would be very happy to receive and act on that kind of feedback. Any suggestions how I could point this out to his teachers in the nicest possible way? Is playing dumb the best way to go?

soverylucky Tue 24-Jun-14 12:14:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ChocolateBiscuitCake Tue 24-Jun-14 12:16:00

I would express concern that they current feedback isn't working - for the teachers or for your son as there is no improvement in his work.

I wouldn't express dumb - it is the last few weeks of school and I suspect the teacher is coasting her way towards the holidays.

Say you think that if the feedback was more specific, your son might respond better. Say you would like to reward him for his hard work at home too so perhaps this approach would help everyone.

If you get her back up, don't worry - he hasn't get her for much longer!

pippiLS Tue 24-Jun-14 12:16:12

One recent piece of feedback that had both DS and I stumped (and precipitated the impending meeting) was

'Success criteria met but this seems unfinished'

written next to a tick box with each of 3 items ticked. Apparently you can have more than one tick for each one confused.

Hakluyt Tue 24-Jun-14 12:21:26

That last one supports the coasting theory- he's doing enough to meet the minimum requirements but no more. If my ds knew what the success criteria were and got a comment like that I would be seriously unimpressed. With him.

pippiLS Tue 24-Jun-14 12:25:15

soverylucky - I take coasting to mean being 'capable of distinguishing what they need to do to enhance their learning but not always choosing to do so.' (taken from a descriptor on DS's attitude to learning section on his report).

DS has never been given this descriptor on a report. His descriptor says 'Conscientious pupil who takes an interest in their learning and tries to do their best.'

His teacher is currently thinking of down-grading this but what is worrying is that she is doing so based on a Y5 optional SATs result (from what I understand). She has also threatened to move him down an ability group.

pippiLS Tue 24-Jun-14 12:35:50

Hakluyt, there was no cutting corners on this piece of work, he spent time on it and wrote creatively/researched effectively.

Again, at his previous school they used all/most/some when setting success criteria and DS always chose 'some' i.e he would meet the minimum that all students were expected to do and then along with most of the class do a bit more before continuing, along with some children, to do even more. The criteria were all listed so it was very clear what was expected.

ChocolateBiscuitCake Tue 24-Jun-14 12:36:59

I think you may need to read between the lines. It sounds like the teacher is frustrated with him because he is probably distracted etc in the classroom. But if he is disengaged, then she is never going to get good work from him. She clearly thinks that these threats to move his group may buck up his ideas/attitude a bit.

She is wrong!

I suspect it is a vicious circle where the teacher nags him, he is now disengaged because he never gets praised for anything. However, the teacher (because she is an adult and a professional!) should take a step back and re-engage him by bringing the targets back to specific basics. If he can then achieve these targets (which she should enable him to do), then he can be praised and he will continue to strive for the praise.

I also think, so many teachers use over-complicated vocabulary which the children don't really understand. They need to understand exactly what is expected of them!

pippiLS Tue 24-Jun-14 12:48:08

Chocolate you could be right. He has said that he does talk a bit during lessons but that he is often helping his friend (he is proud of how his friend is progressing grin). I will ask the teacher is he is distracted during lessons.

By contrast his maths assessments are progressing nicely. He says it's because he knows what is expected of him i.e. do the questions - which he does. Different teacher though, not sure if that is relevant.

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