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I'm having a week of it, I know...but.....(school awards)

(108 Posts)
Basketofchocolate Thu 23-Jul-15 18:28:52

I find it sad (but I do understand why) that DS comes home with acknowledgement that he is normal (all pupils get a sticker at end of term with one of 3 or 4 bland things on) i.e. he is one of the 3 or 4 things that every other child is. He didn't get a certificate for 100% attendance so that's just it. No recognition for his hard work for his academic achievements. Not even privately from the teachers.

I know he's still young (just finished Yr 1) but was wondering why school don't acknowledge it. He knows he's different and that he struggles in other areas, such as social skills so it seems sensible to praise in areas where he is doing well to help self-esteem.

We have told him we're very proud, etc. but....I don't know just having a week of annoyance with the school and stressing about next year already!

defineme Thu 23-Jul-15 18:34:42

Did he not get report? That is where ds2's ' gifts' are acknowledged and praised.
My ds1 is v different, aware of it and lacking in social skills...he is delighted when he gets praise similar to the other children.

Basketofchocolate Thu 23-Jul-15 18:40:04

The report just mentions 'exceeding levels'. Plus, not one for him to read. I think it's good that DS is also in with other kids, but for him, he's never going to get attendance certificate due to number of NHS appts which are during term time, is never going to get recognition for sports (just not....takes after me I think smile). He is brilliant academically compared to peers, and I think it would be nice for teachers to say it occasionally (just to him) so that he can be confident that he is good at something and can be proud of what he can achieve.

var123 Sat 25-Jul-15 01:42:16

They don't praise attainment or ability, unless its for sport or something artistic. I don't know why but an educated guess would put it on the Carol Dweck fad within the teaching profession, or not wanting to make others feel bad or a bit of both.

Ds1 is 7 years further along the education road than your son and he's just got a good report too, with a combination of levels that must be rare within the school. He also got high marks for effort - turning up and doing the work without messing around. The HT called him in to congratulate him and said plenty about the effort but not a word about attainment. Its just the way it is.

YeOldeTrout Sat 25-Jul-15 10:41:20

Our schools do quite a bit to point out effort/attitude & to acknowledge attainment. More so from yr6 onwards, though.

There was a writing contest for KS1 & KS2 groups, maybe something like that will happen.

CorBlimeyTrousers Sat 25-Jul-15 10:53:27

Praising effort rather than attainment may be an attempt to encourage a growth mindset. We can control and increase the effort we put into things and praising effort can encourage the child to try harder. Putting too much emphasis on attainment and natural ability might encourage children (and adults) to avoid activities they're not so good at, for example wanting to take an easier test and get higher marks rather than a stretching task where they won't do so well but will learn more. Could it be that? I know my son's school is all about growth mindset at the moment.

Personally I don't see it as a fad. I think it's an approach that can benefit higher and lower ability pupils.

OrangeSquashTallGlass Sat 25-Jul-15 10:53:49

From a teacher's pov: children all come to school with a bit of a 'pre-set' ability level. Some children, like your DS, are naturally very able. I wouldn't praise your DS for being naturally able. What I would praise him (and all the children) for is his learning attitude eg his perseverance and self motivation, how he responds to challenges, his resilience, etc.

We don't praise chn for their 'level' but we do go all out in praise for their learning.

However, if you feel like this has been overlooked then it's probably worth bringing up at your next parents evening (to check you and his teacher are in the same page).

Basketofchocolate Sun 26-Jul-15 16:22:28

But in sports day, those that win the race get recognition for that. I can guarantee they didn't win for effort, was natural ability.

While I think it is the right way to go to praise effort, just because he is more able, doesn't mean he doesn't make any effort. I see him at home working on maths problems that are a higher level, but he certainly makes effort to get them right.

I do wonder that if attainment isn't praised whether able children see any point in making more effort. After all, the kids who don't achieve near their level get praised for 'good work', so what's the point of them making an effort to achieve a higher level that can feel hard, even if you are able to do it.

YeOldeTrout Sun 26-Jul-15 16:46:08

That's kind of turning inside the Alfie Kohn arguments (NB: am not a Kohn found). But his book is all about intrinsic reward being far superior to needing external praise. Ways to cultivate intrinsic motivation. You might want to read.

Maybe it depends on personality how they are best motivated (intrinsic or wanting house points, etc).

YeOldeTrout Sun 26-Jul-15 16:46:20

*fan not found, oops.

Basketofchocolate Sun 26-Jul-15 16:59:38

That's interesting YeOldeTrout, will look it up. I know DS gets very frustrated with himself when struggles so I think he is motivated himself.

I need to find a way to boost his self-esteem as I think the school environment doesn't do that particularly well for him, his circumstances and personality. Without the self-esteem, I think he isn't going to achieve as well as he might otherwise.

var123 Sun 26-Jul-15 17:12:11

DS1 always behaved well, worked hard and achieved highly but was very weak at sports, so he never got any recognition at all. When he was in year 6, the lack of praise upset him. He felt he couldn't try any harder. One day he asked me whether he ought to misbehave once in a while, deliberately give the wrong answer to questions and be seen to not try.

I think he gave the deliberately not answering things accurately a go because he told me later that the teacher seemed really interested and kept offering him a chance to answer whenever he put his hand up for a couple of days afterwards.

Its a bit pathetic though when the children can see through the adults.

Clavinova Sun 26-Jul-15 17:19:54

This approach is so different from most private junior schools though.
At all the private/prep schools I know the most academic child in each class is awarded an end of year prize for academic achievement (i.e. the cleverest child in the class) - from Year 1. Not only do they receive recognition at prize giving but their names are published in the school magazine. Higher up the school (Year 5/6) there are individual subject prizes (history, science etc.) as well as prizes for sport, drama and music. Effort prizes are awarded at the end of every term and so dc with less ability have a chance to be congratulated too. Why are state schools so reluctant to praise academic achievement?

YeOldeTrout Sun 26-Jul-15 17:22:07

@var123: no housepoints, even? Those are big deal at DC school. yr2 DS also got a HT's award recently for his quality of homework in last 6 months.

var123 Sun 26-Jul-15 17:24:15

Why are state schools so reluctant to praise academic achievement? Carole Dweck! that's why!

Its not that she's not got a lot of good points, my issue is that people interpret her in the same way that a "friend" of mine interpreted Gina Ford's Contented Baby advice i.e. follow everything to the letter without engaging brain and if the baby cries and cries, just pat yourself on the back that you are sooo strong and that its proof the program is obviously working.

var123 Sun 26-Jul-15 17:28:00

I think everyone got a housepoint for turning in homework, or writing a prayer in RE etc.

They also got them for putting your hand up and surprising the teacher with an insightful answer (but the teachers tended not to want my children to say the right answer until all the chidlren had had time to ponder the answer themselves and several other children had a had a shot at answering first.

OrangeSquashTallGlass Sun 26-Jul-15 17:28:55

Basketofchocolate I think its fantastic that you're looking for other ways to boost his self esteem, you sound fab. I really do think you also ought to mention it to his teacher when you get the chance. I know I'd want to know if there was something I was overlooking that could make all the difference to one of my pupils.

YeOldeTrout Sun 26-Jul-15 17:41:35

7yo-DS moans about not being picked (if his hand raised first).
DD still gets this in secondary, but she's used to it now & laughs about it.

I thought it was a good opportunity to remind DS to be patient with others. That it was the teacher's job to give everyone a chance to try to figure it out for themselves. The teacher wasn't just there to reward the clever, supposed to help everyone.

7yo-DS has had up to 3 Housepoints for good homework.

yr6 we have award assembly which includes a trophy for each individual subject, 2 sports awards, overall academics & overall contribution to school life trophies. I knew DS wouldn't get anything the moment they said they were going to use willingness to take instruction as part of the award criteria... 3/3 of his best mates each got a trophy, though, wish he wasn't losing that gang. sad

Var123: what yr is your DS in, now? DD (just finished yr8), her peers fire their levels & high results at each other constantly, very competitive group. The staff tell the class who got the highest mark on most recent exam and encourage public praise & respect, they have awards assemblies once a term which covers all subjects, and there is the UKMT. DD has done competitions in sport, DT and public speaking, too. How much of those types of things does your DS school do?

Panzee Sun 26-Jul-15 17:41:50

Can I just say, thank you for this thread. I am a teacher and it's really made me think about how Dweck etc can affect how I praise, and I recognise it's not all for the good!

OrangeSquashTallGlass Sun 26-Jul-15 17:42:38

'Why are state schools so reluctant to praise academic achievement? Carole Dweck! that's why!'

Quite a sweeping statement var and one I disagree with. Academic achievement is recognised. But the point is that you recognise children as individuals achieving. This encourages each child to achieve their best without being overshadowed by the 'I'll never be as good as so-and-so so why bother' issue demoralising and demotivating children. Also, if a child goes above and beyond eg sporting match/music exam distinction/chess league/story writing competition/mathletics champion then it's celebrated with the whole school!

It's hardly an easy thing to balance though, which is why it's worth bringing up with their teacher if you feel your DC are overlooked.

YeOldeTrout Sun 26-Jul-15 17:46:39

never heard of carole Dweck before, quite good at self-promotion isn't she?!

var123 Sun 26-Jul-15 19:09:57

Ds1 is in year 8 now.

UkMT - yes. he did quite well considering that there was no preparation - 1 or 2 marks off the kangaroo
Sports - he likes football, so he plays it but he doesn't even make the B team, so no praise available there
Debating - he's shy and has low self-esteem. I think there is a debating society and I've been trying to encourage him to find out but he has resisted very strongly thus far.

OrangeSquashTallGlass - honestly, I've tried and tried and tried.. oh and tried again. Sure, you should only praise when a good piece of work is produced through extra effort, but that raises the bigger issue of how can DS elevate his effort when he finds the work too easy (all the time)?

BertrandRussell Sun 26-Jul-15 19:16:11

"but the teachers tended not to want my children to say the right answer until all the chidlren had had time to ponder the answer themselves and several other children had a had a shot at answering first."

Can I ask how you know this?

OrangeSquashTallGlass Sun 26-Jul-15 19:39:53

'how can DS elevate his effort when he finds the work too easy (all the time)?'
Well therein lies the issue - he shouldn't be finding the learning too easy all the time. What you can do about this though if you've already spoken to the school on multiple occasions...

var123 Sun 26-Jul-15 19:41:11

BertrandRussell - how do you think I know it? There's only 1 way apart from putting a spy camera in the classroom! People tell me - my dc, other dc in the class and the teachers, albeit they have different ways of phrasing it.

My children tell me they put their hands up and sit and wait. Ds2 tells me that he just puts his hand up as soon as the question is asked and uses the waiting time to work out the answer.

Then, just in case you may think that my Dc are making it up, the other children in the class tell me the same thing. Ds2 seems to be some sort of class mascot for his maths ability. The others in his class boast about his maths ability when they meet children from other schools at some event or other (they tell me and each other what was said when I am taking them home afterwards).

Finally the teachers confirm it when i used to speak to them about it.

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