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Am I oversensitive or is this normal practice?

(13 Posts)
gabsid Thu 15-Nov-12 09:48:08

I recently attended a reading cafe with my Y3 DS. It was all very good and informative until the last activity. The HT divided DC in 3 groups, explained that they were doing a competition, gave them little slips to read and asked them to write down as much information they remembered.

At the end it became very clear that they were divided up into ability groups, and, surprise, surprise, the top table (also mostly the oldest DC) had by far the most statements written down whereas the bottom table (including 1 dyslexic DC) had just one. Was the idea to reward achievement? I felt it was insensitive. Couldn't she have just mixed them all up or given the top group harder statements?

Also, they have this assembly to reward good behaviour where all DC who didn't get yellow/red cards (I think) get to stand up and are applauded. As it happens its usually 1 or 2 in a class that are not allowed to stand up and I feel the attention is on those sitting down, not on the 25 standing up. My DS said he always looks around to see who hasn't behaved.

I would be interested what you think.

Startail Thu 15-Nov-12 10:15:36

DCs tend to know who is the most able in there own class and who is the worst behaved.
Making it so obvious to the parents at the reading cafe and the whole school in assembly seems less well judged.

Startail Thu 15-Nov-12 10:16:45

Their, no Literacy Certificate for Star this weekgrin

yellowsubmarine53 Thu 15-Nov-12 10:26:00

Both ideas seem a little thoughtless and insensitive. The purpose of a reading cafe is to share information and strengthen relationships with parents, not highlight to the children who are the higher/lower achievers.

The assembly thing sounds horrid. Pound to a penny, it's the same kids who are left sitting each week, thus reinforcing to them that they're 'naughty'.

DeWe Thu 15-Nov-12 10:29:51

Don't like the reading cafe one. If they're doing it as a competition that's particularly bad. However if you do mixed ability groups, you can end up with the lower ability just being passengers because they're lacking the confidence to speak up against the ones to get it quickly. I would expect the top group to have much harder work though.

However the applause isn't dreadful to me. There's a lot of complaints that the standard good ones miss out on any praise going. That's a way to give all that have behaved a small reward. My ds would probably never get to stand up there unless he'd been away from Monday to Thursday and the assembly was Friday morning wink but he actually gets a certain amount of rewards and it would be nice to see the quiet average child feeling that they were rewarded too.

MagiMingeWassailsAgain Thu 15-Nov-12 10:30:32

The yellow/red card thing - is it Good to be Green? Our school introduced this recently as the behaviour management scheme, the consequences for not being green all week mean having some circle time about behaviour etc when the other children are having Golden Time whatever that is! and a child each week gets to go for a celebratory breakfast or lunch with some teachers at a special table set up like a party.

confused that having lunch with a teacher is a reward grin but the children are very happy when they are nominated. It sounds like more carrot/less stick to me but I am fairly new to school with my eldest still in yr1.

gabsid Thu 15-Nov-12 10:31:53

After the assembly we had a letter from the HT saying that some parents have remaked on that and asked for parents' views. 50 odd parents replied and it was decided that good behaviour should be rewarded, the DC standing up and being applauded felt proud and the purpose of those sitting down is to reflect on their behaviour.

I still think somehow they are missing the point.

gabsid Thu 15-Nov-12 10:41:20

I am all for rewarding the quieter, well behaved ones (I used to be one of them smile), but they are basically standing up as a whole class, except 1 or 2, when they are applauded - I wouldn't take that as a personal applause.

I would prefer they gave them extra house points, Golden Time or the teacher's breakfast (although, I was so shy I would have hated that).

DeWe - Hm, maybe a competition with such a mixed ability group isn't the best thing to do either way.

DeWe Thu 15-Nov-12 11:11:54

gabsid yes, I don't really get why it had to be a competition. I like competition in schools, but that did sound not a time to do one. If you do, then each group has to have equal chance to win, either by mixed groups or differentiating work.

Magi strange though having lunch with a teacher being a reward is. My dd1's secondary school (normal state comp) has that as one of the "rewards" you can buy with your "merit marks". Apparently this was one of the rewards suggested by pupils too confused. I said I'd have thought it more of a punishment at that age. Other rewards are sensible (like a get to the front of the lunch queue one day pass-sounds a bit like monopoly cards really!) but what if the teacher doesn't want to...

gabsid Thu 15-Nov-12 11:32:31

I used to teach secondary and, yes, kids seem to love getting to the lunch queue or out of the room first, even if only to go to another lesson, or maybe it was just me they wanted to get away from smile.

I used to do recap activities at the end of the lesson that allowed a handful of people to line up by the door and leave with the bell. They loved that!

midseasonsale Thu 15-Nov-12 19:01:27

The applause sounds good, it's important to recognise and celebrate good behavior.

I fully support kids working in ability groups, it makes such practical sense. But in this instance it was silly to state that it was a competition, when clearly the top table are going to be the winners.

UniS Thu 15-Nov-12 19:54:32

The children already KNOW who in their class has misbehaved, they see them in action .

I think its an OK idea for the children who have NOT had sanction cards to be congratulated and applauded. Its not the only reward/ sanction the school use and no one simple system will work for all the children in a primary school at all the possible developmental stages, but for the lumpen middle average good kid, yes a bit of applause for not being in trouble is nice.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 15-Nov-12 21:34:22

I think most schools have got rewards wrong and sanctions don't always work.
I don't understand why all dcs can't be rewarded for their own talents, improving behaviour, noticable academic or sporting improvement.
All too often the middle average who have constant acceptable or good behaviour are over looked. Surely, at some time during the school year they all should acieve rewards.

In my dds last school one girl never got star of the week once, all year. Obviously this was a mistake as the teacher wouldn't have purposely forgotten her, but she was so upset. She was the average, well behaved one who had the most lovely manner and was kind, considerate and over looked.

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