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A question about certificates, all may answer but would like a teacher's view too please

(107 Posts)
PiggeryJokery Fri 30-Nov-12 16:11:51

Do you think they are a good or a bad thing?

I am getting more and more pissed off about certificates, in our case presented for good work once a week in assembly. Sure they are a good way of recognising good work publically, but when it's your child getting increasingly despondent that they haven't yet had one this term, when other classmates may have 2 or even 3, they don't work do they? But if you give one to half the class every week then they become devalued. Or do they? If you're in Yr1 any bit of praise and acknowledgement is brilliant, and motivating. Poor ds has to sit and clap everyone else, sometimes more than once, this term but has had nothing himself. He's a nice child, bright, works hard, not above a bit of silliness I know. But if he wasn't getting a certificate because of poor behaviour if expect to be told about that direct, not have to fathom it out from a lack of public praise.

If you were a teacher and a parent raised this with you nicely, would you think they were annoying and pushy, that the child just had to wait his turn, no matter how long it took, or that you had a fair point?

juniper904 Mon 03-Dec-12 19:31:28

And they call themselves a school?? WHAT are they teaching this child?

That it's never too late to turn things around, and that there is an alternative way to behave? That you can get attention for positive behaviour, rather than negative? That no personality is set in stone and that, with the correct encouragement, everyone can succeed?

Ljny, I'm not sure I follow your point.

ljny Sun 02-Dec-12 05:05:47

I think rather she has become demotivated because she feels that her efforts are never recognised.

This is so very sad.

...but these disruptive children seem to get lots of recognition in the form of certificates

And they call themselves a school?? WHAT are they teaching this child?

juniper904 Sun 02-Dec-12 00:27:05

I've had a few 'errm... excuse me, Miss Juniper904, but so-and-so has been the star twice this term. Did you make a mistake?' from children.

I try to give all the children a 'turn', but if someone wows me, I will make them the star. But I do record it.

SE13Mummy Sat 01-Dec-12 23:13:13

If a parent came and asked me why their child hadn't received a certificate yet (we are expected to give out one per week, linked to the school values) I would explain that I haven't yet felt that their child deserved a certificate over and above the child it's been awarded to each week.

I keep a record of what the certificates are given for so that children aren't given two certificates for the same own DD1 has received certificates at her school for 'being polite, hard-working and an excellent role model' or something to that effect. Whilst it's lovely that she's noticed for those things, that's just how she is at school. I would prefer that she was recognised for taking a risk with her learning or working to achieve something out of her comfort zone as I think this would have more impact upon her than being given a certificate for being an 'easy pupil'.

Children in my class know that the certificates are not an entitlement and that it's not a turn-taking thing. Every certificate that I give out is genuine - they aren't being given out just for being in my class!

MuddlingMackem Sat 01-Dec-12 22:40:26

I like the certificate system our DC's school have. Once a week, one child per class, plus odd extra ones for children nominated by non-class teachers for deserving reasons grin, are put in the golden book. And parents are invited to the assembly to see their child receive their certificate and have the teacher say nice things about them in front of the whole school.

I was there once when DS was in it (for asking good questions on a field trip) and a YR child was in it for writing his name well.

I have no idea whether or not it's a 'make sure every child gets in at least once a year' deal or not, but I had words with DD to tell her that it doesn't matter if you're not in it, but it's a really good thing if you are, and that she may never get in it at all in her time at the school, after she was moaning about not being in it. She seemed to accept that. Then a couple of weeks later she was in it. smile

I also like that they get occasional stickers. They usually have them on their jumpers when they come out so that the parent will then be prompted to ask them what they got the sticker for. This way the parent gets to know what the child has done well without the teacher having to take the time to speak to the parents. Sounds like a good motivator for the child and a time saver for the teacher. Win-win! grin

Hulababy Sat 01-Dec-12 21:34:46

I was the overlooked forgotten child. All the way through school too. So we are talking several years and many teachers. Quiet, worked hard but was never top of class, shy, well behaved, etc. After that I knew it was very possible for children to be the overlooked forgotten child.

DeWe Sat 01-Dec-12 21:26:06

I reckoned you could tell the tick box teachers by what they gave the awards for. They always tended to be bland stuff not really special to the child.

For example when dd1 got one for "getting all her sums right" with one teacher she explained to me that they were doing a new topic and none of the others had got it all right. Very proud she was.

The next year she got a certificate for the same thing, and she was confused because she said she usually (if not always) got them all right, and so did all the people on her table. It was clearly a tick box exercise for that teacher, and she wrote the name and thought of what it could be for after.

Mind you the first teacher I thought one of her gifts was what she awarded the certificates for. They were always well thought out, directly for that child, and worded in such a way that that child was the only one who could get it-and every child had at least one a term. Really motivating for the children, because they felt they'd worked and deserved it.

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 01-Dec-12 20:30:43

Ds reports have always been 3's and 4's for effort - always being called in over problems he doesn't like scho yet as I say he has has two of the certificates in the last 3 years.

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 01-Dec-12 20:29:20

She did have a bit if a coasting year in year 4 where she got 2's and 3's for effort but last year after a rollicking from us (she still got good exam results) she got all 1's & 2's for effort. Teachers say she is a pleasure to teach and talented in music & drama.

ElfOnTheShelf Sat 01-Dec-12 20:23:42

Pictureinthefirelight exactly my point too. My DD also in the same boat as yours and has never been purely motivated by a certificate as she's only mentioning it now after more than 4 years of nothing. It's just she feels her efforts aren't recognised although that doesn't stop her working to the best of her abilities still. She's quiet and pretty much average at everything, so by no means struggling but not the brainiest one either. In her class the strugglers seem to get one and the very high achievers.

I'm not going to mention it as I want her to gain one for her own merit not because I've caused a stink.

They earn merit points for their house so she does get plenty of those luckily but this is the 'cup' that is given to the child who has over excelled every week - not just good work but being kind and helpful etc. Every report I get for DD it says what a pleasure she is to teach and how helpful and kind to her peers she is so that for me is enough and I make sure she reads her report too so she know how well she's doing but a tangible prize of a cup would be wonderful to have (it's just for the weekend and then given back for the next weeks' prize earner).

juniper904 Sat 01-Dec-12 20:22:40


If it's been the same story for 5 years, then either it's a whole school system that isn't recognising her efforts, or she isn't showing her effort. What do her school reports say? Do they give marks for effort?

Unfortunately, there will always be some children who throw tantrums when they don't get their own way, but you (and the teacher) need to make sure your daughter knows that she should stand her ground with children like that. Otherwise, she will become life's door mat and the friend will become a brat.

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 01-Dec-12 20:10:31

I'm deluding myself arnt I? She obviously doesn't work hard enough.

Will stop going on about it now.

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 01-Dec-12 20:09:12

She's not purely motivated by the offer of a certificate. I think rather she has become demotivated because she feels that her efforts are never recognised.

Or maybe she just hasn't ever put any effort in.

She complains that several disruptive children disrupt her favourite lesson (music) yet she has always done her best in her most hated subject (PE) but these disruptive children seem to get lots of recognition in the form of certificates and mentions for sporting achievement. (School is very sporty)

She's also not very popular and amongst the group if friends she does have - tends to get bossed around when working in groups etc. her friend throws a tantrum if she doesn't get her own way for example. This friends mum has complained about her not getting a certificate - so she was given one the following week.

juniper904 Sat 01-Dec-12 19:55:00

Picturesinthefirelight I think it's worrying that your DD is motivated purely by the offer of a certificate. Your DD needs to be intrinsically motivated to succeed. At some point in her life, regardless of whether she receives 1 certificate or 100 now, she is going to need to be able to motivate herself rather than relying on external validation.

If your DD is only motivated extrinsically, then I suggest you tackle this before she enters secondary school, where it's very much a small fish, big pond sort of environment and she will find the sink or swim attitude very hard to manage.

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 01-Dec-12 19:36:37

The teachers amongst you - would you say that we should be concerned about dd's behaviour & effort if she hasn't had a merit certificate in 5 years (approximately 50 children per year group & 1 certificate given out for each year every week)

She just thinks its not worth making an effort now.

juniper904 Sat 01-Dec-12 17:02:13

Saw this today and it made me think of this thread...

mrz Sat 01-Dec-12 16:58:13

I mean instant recognition in the form of a certificate or medal or trophy (just not presented in a whole school assembly)

HumphreyCobbler Sat 01-Dec-12 16:43:42

I expect the children receive instant recognition as well as a certificate. It is not necessarily one or the other.

FromEsme Sat 01-Dec-12 16:43:25

Let's face it, certificates and all that are shite. The children care about them, but ultimately they are unlikely to actually help them in their education.

I'd still rather make sure everyone had got one and that I hadn't missed people out, while still continuing to give support to ALL the children in my class.

mrz Sat 01-Dec-12 16:41:17

I'm not sure how a check list ensures the deserving child receives the certificate ...If a child works really hard in my class they would receive instant recognition and I would make a note if I thought the effort should be acknowledged in a school assembly ...

Gentleness Sat 01-Dec-12 16:35:23

Mrz, unfortunately in an environment where children believe these certificates really matter it becomes important to provide ahead for your own weaknesses. We'd get the " certificate book" on a busy Friday lunchtime or early afternoon. I'd often have already chosen the 2 kids to receive the certificate but not always. The checklist helped me focus instead of rushing in for the sake of it when already tired and overloaded, and sometimes I'd have made a couple of notes about the steady achievers but another child had pipped them to it previously.

Surely it is sensible to ensure you have a simple practical solution to prevent mistakes. It's something I started doing voluntarily after a few years of teaching and realising that with more responsibilities it was no longer quite wise to trust my memory on a Friday! Nothing to do with how I worked with quiet kids during the week.

OwedToAutumn Sat 01-Dec-12 15:37:40

At the junior school my DDs' attended, good work (for that particular child) is given a stamp, and a certain number of stamps equals a merit. They have to go to the HT's office to be awarded the merit, which then goes on a wall chart of all girls. After a certain number of merits have been achieved, they are given a certificate which is awarded at assembly.

There are also house points which are given for kindness, courtesy and so on.

So, children get awards for working hard within their own level, rather than being the best in the class at something.

A similar system runs at DS's junior school.

Now the girls are at two different senior schools, similar systems run at their respective schools.

I agree with mrz that awards should not be given because it's that child's "turn" but also think that children should see that they rewarded for putting in an effort.

HotheadPaisan Sat 01-Dec-12 15:33:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FromEsme Sat 01-Dec-12 15:29:19

Perhaps mrz and perhaps not. How can we possibly know.

HotheadPaisan Sat 01-Dec-12 15:25:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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