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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?

prettydaisies Fri 30-Nov-12 16:56:19

Are you sure some children have had them more than once? I give 2 a week to my class, but haven't got through the whole class yet. I do make sure everyone has one by finding something good about all children (and tick it off on a class list, so I know!).

choccyp1g Fri 30-Nov-12 17:05:41

Good for you Prettydaisies, I thought that was how it worked in DS class, when he invariably got one in the last dish-out of the year, for "good work in maths" (he was pretty much the best at maths all the way through).
I am a governor now at his old school and was amazed last week when discussing reward systems, his old teacher said "no they don't keep a tick list" to make sure that all children get some work up on the wall at least once a year, or that they all get "one of 5 stars of the week" at least once a term.

choccyp1g Fri 30-Nov-12 17:06:58

Haven't explained why I was shocked. Surely teachers can understand how it feels to be hoping and hoping to be called every week and then seeing the same old faces trooping up.

craftynclothy Fri 30-Nov-12 17:11:01

At DD1's school they give out 2 certificates a week per class. I presume they give to every child once (certainly seems that way). They also do stars and iirc last year they had all got the bronze one by the time they were awarded with a few of them getting silver.

mrz Fri 30-Nov-12 17:13:32

Genuine question ...Do you think a child should be awarded a certificate simply because it's "their turn" ?

Frontpaw Fri 30-Nov-12 17:16:01

Ah yes, the sodding awards and house point system. Pain in the effing ass. Some kids get them for not hitting/bullying/spitting...

Some teachers are point happy and give them out like confetti (which is crapy if they teach certain classes so other kids don't get anywhere near as many points). One child in DSs this week had 25 points - the others has between none and 7. This child has a class with a particular teacher every week and this is where she gets all the points (with the little smiley face drawn on, so it's obvious where they come from). Its not an extra class (foreign school system) so its ot as if she needs extra encouragement. Even the kids are hacked off with the system now! DS gets points for helping clear up the classroom, which ally pisses me off. He works hard and produces some work that is pretty good, but never gets points for that!

NotInMyDay Fri 30-Nov-12 17:20:13

My DD is in P1 and I already hate them. She is quiet and well behaved and she works well but has she had a certificate? Nope! She has to watch the class hooligan get one for being less of a hooligan this week sad

HumphreyCobbler Fri 30-Nov-12 17:23:44

A teacher ususally uses a tick chart to keep a record of who has had a certificate and who has not. I would consider this good practice.

You can always find something to praise about a child, if you cannot do so you probably shouldn't be a teacher.

Not everyone in a class of thirty would have got one by this point in the term, even if they give out two a week.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 30-Nov-12 17:40:58

DD was always sad in infants as she never got any kind of recognition and she commented 'How come it's always the naughty ones who have star charts Mummy?' By the end of infants she was despondent and was just doing the bare minimum because she couldn't see the point in doing any more.
So actually now she is in Juniors and the harder you work the faster you get house points and your certificates - if you misbehave yous loose house points and don't get certificates- I am delighted.
I feel that the harder you work in life the greater the rewards and now she is in a system that reflects that I am really happy.

mummytime Fri 30-Nov-12 17:49:05

I think every child should get one, but you can encourage the child to work for it. I believe over a school year every child must have at least 1 good week, or produce 1 good (for them) piece of work.
A friend of mine is a paediatric nurse, and she uses star charts to teach parents to spot (and reward) when a child is being good; so the parent has the task of spotting the child being good 5 times a day for example. If the child doesn't get 5 stars it is the parent who has 'failed' not the child.
Similarly if a teacher doesn't think each child has produced good work/been well behaved at least once a year/term. Then that teacher is failing (at least in primary).

Frontpaw Fri 30-Nov-12 17:51:18

We have small classes and its the same kids. So the message is, if you work hard, behave and are polite (and your mum isn't class parent, or on the PTA) you can forget it. And if you do, it's not because you did good work or won a competition, no, it's because you have been 'mature' wtaf???

Even when DS says 'its to encourage them to be good' or 'it's because they need extra practise in English' (which they don't because they are bilingual) even he doesn't sound convinced these days. He didn't even buy 'its because he worked hard on his lines' for the child who got extra house points for being in the class play (the play that he wasn't actually in as she was off that day).

PiggeryJokery Fri 30-Nov-12 18:10:52

Interesting replies thanks. In response to Mrsz,no I don't think you should get them because its your turn, but nor do I think that a child who tries hard should see his friends, one of whom messes about and is silly in class, and one who is bright and clever get them, or in one case three, while he keeps on doing his best and getting nil recognition. If he's just unfortunate enough to be at the end of the queue well then he will learn delayed gratification, but that doesn't seem to be the system. I would rather 5 children a week got them if they warranted the praise, on whatever level - so amazing work or better behaviour according to their own abilities.

Same thing happened last year. It is really depressing when you view it through the eyes of a 5yo and his PFB mother

Durab Fri 30-Nov-12 18:15:27

DS2 got his 2nd this term today and as they give out one per class per week, he's obviously had more than his share. Other years I'm not sure he's had one at all.

IMO that's how it should be. He has worked hard this term and there have been dramatic improvements in the areas he's been rewarded for. Other years he's, frankly, been lazy. It wouldn't have been right to give him a certificate just because it's his turn, or he hasn't had one yet- that does devalue them.

That said, of course different children should get rewarded for different things. DS1 got a sticker 6 weeks into reception for answering his name for the register (painfully shy then) It would have been silly to reward a child who found that easy, but they might have had one for doing up their coat. If a child finds it hard to be "mature" and has made a special effort to behave, then that is worthy of reward IMO. A "good" child who's coasting not so much.

ElfOnTheShelf Fri 30-Nov-12 18:18:58

Try being in Yr 4 (aged 8) and not EVER receiving one. My DD has had to watch her best friend get one every year (she is the youngest in the class and struggles) whereas DD is very average and quiet but never gets recognised. Again there is no list and so the same children get picked. I feel so sad for her when she asks "When will it be my turn?".

cilldara Fri 30-Nov-12 18:25:43

I am a teacher, albeit in Ireland, and I never give certs or rewards!

I believe strongly in self motivation and the power of immediate praise for a good piece of work or good behaviour.

Wellthen Fri 30-Nov-12 18:52:57

I find this attitude 'it is so sad for an 8 year old' rather odd. Yes, it is sad when you're 8. In the same way that fact your brother is ALWAYS going to be 2 years older and therefore get a later bedtime and more fun toys is very annoying, pets dying is distressing etc.

These are experiences that we have as children that, as adults, we recognise are not actually so important. As an adult surely our role is to help children through these feelings by explaining how the system works.

eg. We are part way through a 15 (I think) week term. So, in many classes, at least 10 children wont get a certificate if there is one certificate a week. So actually, it probably isnt the same children coming up. Its just your child is sad because they are in the final 3rd of the class to get theirs. Somebody has to be last. It isnt because they dont mattter or the teacher hasn't noticed them. Its simple maths.

You are not helping your children by being bitter and petty you are simply compounding their feelings of saddness by making out the system is 'corrupt'

2 final things:
Ask your child to actually think about how often they are praised. For lining up, for their work, for sitting nicely, for being nice or polite. It IS noticed. But teachers praise so often it fades into background noise!

Every week I struggle to think of someone for the award because I have so many things to chose from. Good peices of work, good behaviour, being friendly. Then I have the group of children who have already had an award (and so therefore dont deserve one?). Remind your child that they probably deserved an award but somebody had to be chosen.

mrz Fri 30-Nov-12 19:30:27

"A teacher ususally uses a tick chart to keep a record of who has had a certificate and who has not."

I would consider this a pretty pointless practice ... I'm very mean when it comes to certificates ...they have to be earned for effort or they are valueless.

HumphreyCobbler Fri 30-Nov-12 19:41:09

Well I make sure they earn it AND everyone gets a go at it. I need to remember myself who has had one. It is not pointless.

ninah Fri 30-Nov-12 19:43:27

I agree with humphrey

mrz Fri 30-Nov-12 19:45:15

I inherited a class last year who had a teacher with a tick list and they kept asking me when it was their turn for a certificate ...

HumphreyCobbler Fri 30-Nov-12 19:46:04

Most of the teachers I know keep a record. The teacher you mention must have handled it badly.

HumphreyCobbler Fri 30-Nov-12 19:47:16

no one has ever asked me when is it going to be their turn.

Takver Fri 30-Nov-12 19:49:25

Its tricky, isn't it. I'm the parent of the child who comes home with 'golden certificate' because she wrote half a page, and probably all the other children on her table wrote 2 pages and are wondering why they didn't . . . But equally, if something is really hard for you, surely its great that it is recognised.

Having said that, this week dd came home with the certificate because she was the only one who knew all her lines for the school play - which is dead easy for her as she has an amazing memory - and I suspect she got it 'cos the teacher was pissed off with all the kids who didn't!

On the whole I think it is a good system, but then I have a dd who generally comes last at everything in sports, is socially not great so never gets picked for school council, and finds writing painfully hard so rarely produces work that goes up on the wall. So something like getting the certificate for 'being a good friend to the younger children' is really important to her. (And yes, I do think most probably that they keep a list and make sure everyone gets it at least once a term!)

ninah Fri 30-Nov-12 19:51:13

nor me humphrey
I like cilldara's approach, personally, but the certificates are a whole school thing so no choice

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