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Marked work - NO positive/encouraging comments - normal?

(136 Posts)
EarthboundMisfit Fri 22-Jul-16 22:31:36

Hello. Feeling a bit sad for Y1 DS today. He brought all his school exercise books home tonight. I've enjoyed looking at his work, but am a bit upset by the marking.

He's doing well at school... lots of 'mastery' on his report. But on every piece of work all that's been written by his teacher is what to improve. 'Watch this' 'Slow down' 'Try to do x' etc.

I nearly fainted when I saw a smiley face next to one piece. It was an evaluation of a junk model he made at home and spent hours on. The comment was - 'you have done well at evaluating how you could improve your model'.

There's one piece of work marked by a Y2 teacher who covered their class. It's has a 'well done, you've done a great job of x', followed by a suggestion for how to improve.

All I can think is that if I'd received that marking for a year I'd feel like shit about myself.

Am I being unreasonable and PFB? Is this normal?


irvineoneohone Fri 22-Jul-16 22:52:56

IME, it really depend on the teacher. My ds's reception teacher was great at writing encouraging comments, which really inspired my ds.
YR1 teacher was... crap. Yr2, great again, YR3 teacher, good. That's my experience so far.

sirfredfredgeorge Fri 22-Jul-16 22:59:17

In our "going in to Yr1" meeting, we were told the teachers would do nothing but faces sad/smiley ones and no word comments, so I think it's good you're getting anything!

However it does seem bad if there's nothing anything positive to say - I assume there is good work that would deserve a mention?

IWasSpartacus Fri 22-Jul-16 23:00:33

From what I have heard Yr1 & Yr3 is where they hide the crap teachers....Yr2 tend to better/stronger.

Sorry he has had clearly pants motivation from his teacher. Just give him a big cuddle and remind him he is wonderful - and if he hasn't really noticed just move on. flowers

bsmirched Fri 22-Jul-16 23:03:53

Wow. I'm a Year 3 teacher. Thanks for that.

BusStopBetty Fri 22-Jul-16 23:04:58

I've noticed that the only book that has regular comments is the homework book - which is the one sent home every week so is seen by parents. Doesn't seem to bother DC, only so many ways to write 'remember your sodding full stops'.

BusStopBetty Fri 22-Jul-16 23:05:56

And our year three teachers are fab.

IWasSpartacus Fri 22-Jul-16 23:11:59 I did not say all teachers of Yr1 & 3 were crap - just that is a commonly held thought that if your school has not managed to improve the Teaching & Learning of certain teachers - but cannot manage them out - then they do least damage in those years.

I do not necessarily agree with it. Make all teachers good.

But also looking at my DCs' school - mostly all the teachers are great - but there have been a couple of years where these years were the weakest teachers. DD's Yr3 teacher was great at some aspects - but sooo weak on others - seems to back up the "hide in Yr3" mentality.

You certainly (as a head) would not be putting a not-as-strong teacher in Yr2//6 (SATs) would you?

Longlost10 Sat 23-Jul-16 05:05:02

The trouble with positive comments is that many schools insist on them being used, to the point which they not only become utterly meaningless, but the children develop a resistance to them and lose trust totally in positive feedback for life.

Euphemia Sat 23-Jul-16 05:12:58

I like "Two stars and a wish" (I even have a stamper for the purpose!):

You remembered capital letters and full stops.
You used finger spaces.
Next time, remember to write your letters on the line.

That way, the feedback is specific and the positive outweighs the negative. It gives a next step, and is tied to the learning intentions and success criteria of the lesson.

I have a colleague who writes things like "Nice work!" or "Super story!" and nothing else - meaningless!

Longlost10 Sat 23-Jul-16 05:15:38

I like "Two stars and a wish"

I hate this. I find it very very damaging to children's self esteem, reaction to positive feedback, ability to self evaluate, response to criticism and overall general development. And the damage appears to be permanent

It is crap and should be banned

Longlost10 Sat 23-Jul-16 05:23:31

I have a colleague who writes things like "Nice work!" or "Super story!" and nothing else - meaningless!

actually, I find this far more meaningful than that pretentious pseudo- educational bollox

Students in my son's school once went on l"earning objective" strike, theey were so sick of being patronised and having their time wasted by crap like "success criteria" and " praise sandwiches"

There was a list of terms like that which was circulated, and if the teacher used any of them, or put learning objectives up on the board, the whole class put their pens down and refused to work.

It is a sensible school, on the whole, so this shite rarey came up anyway, but there was a rash of newly qualified teachers at one point, who brought this type of faddy stuff in with them. Thankfully it didn't last long, and normal education was resumed.

Euphemia Sat 23-Jul-16 05:27:42

What does your son's school do now then?

redgoat Sat 23-Jul-16 05:33:38

When I taught in year 1, I wrote very little and we had a series of symbols that we used. The children knew what each symbol meant. No point in writing "Well done, you remembered finger spaces. Please go back and add full stops" when they can't read it! Whereas a quick picture of a green finger and a pink full stop in a circle would tell the child exactly what they needed to do. The most effective feedback marking for young children is verbal. I wrote very little in some children's books but spoke to them every lesson and you could clearly see the progress in their books. An ofsted inspector commended me on how great my y1 books were. Not loads of marking but loads of progress that showed I was doing my job well.

I've got a real issue with marking for adults/ofsted/parents vs marking for the children.

Euphemia Sat 23-Jul-16 05:42:33


Of course it has to be accessible to the children, or it's pointless. I'm working in support for learning at the moment - the children can read these comments but it's their writing that is poor, for various reasons. I work with small groups, so I can give individual feedback.

Obviously you have to tailor comments, symbols, traffic-lighting, etc. to the children.

Cashewnutts Sat 23-Jul-16 05:44:46

Why not ask the school to see their marking policy? That will then tell whether this teacher is marking in line with what the school wants. However, to only have negative comments does sound a bit strange, maybe all the positive feedback is verbal?

IME marking in y1 does tend to be more sparse than further up the school, the children are just figuring out how to read, why give them long winded comments?

EarthboundMisfit Sat 23-Jul-16 06:08:49

Wow! Thanks for all these replies. I'm less concerned now! I think a lot of the work is good but standards are high now.

Longlost10 Sat 23-Jul-16 06:29:22

What does your son's school do now then? concentrates on the actual teaching!

Longlost10 Sat 23-Jul-16 06:30:10

What does your son's school do now then?

concentrates on the actual teaching

Nzou1050 Sat 23-Jul-16 06:39:36

Longlost10 is your sons school primary or secondary?

mrz Sat 23-Jul-16 06:43:25

In Y1 the feedback is often verbal

mrz Sat 23-Jul-16 06:45:14

There isn't anywhere to hide a crap teacher Iwasspaticus's a very outdated idea.

OhTheRoses Sat 23-Jul-16 06:51:39

If everything is super, how do children learn? I waded through 33 entry level application forms yesterday, most applicants had a degree. Two had acceptable writing skills with good grammar.

I liked redgoat's approach.

Has your son been happy at school this year op? Did you think he'd progressed before this. Have you had a look at the last work from reception and compare it to the last work in year one?

Whilst I agree children (and adults) need to be motivated there simply can't be personal growth if what is adequate, or what doesn't reflect a child's ability or potential, is continually applauded.

OhTheRoses Sat 23-Jul-16 06:52:46

Second paragraph should be compared.

irvineoneohone Sat 23-Jul-16 08:08:00

I like Euphemia 's idea of "Two stars and a wish".
I am sure things like this would work great with my ds.

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