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When is the obsession with making children feel rubbish through afl marking ever going to stop?(5 Posts)
I was at a youth group tonight and a bright, funny and kind 8 year old and I were talking. She said to me ( not knowing I was a teacher) ‘I’m useless at English.’ I questioned why she had said that and her response was ‘I’ve always got green pen all over my page.’
I could have cried for her. How has it come to an 8 year deciding they are useless because their work, ideas and composition is reduced to so green next steps? What happened to praising children for how far they’ve come?
I’ve just given up teaching for the very reason that it’s become so much about data chasing and constantly making children and teachers feel like nothing is ever good enough. No wonder we have a youth mental health crisis on our hands.
It sounds horrible OP. I’m not a teacher but a parent of primary children on the continent and they don’t have homework at all (though obviously lots of reading is encouraged) and the general attitude is very much “let them be kids”. My friend was worried about her son’s school performance and considering extra lessons for him, but his teacher said his time would be better spent playing and getting more social experience with his peers. I get the feeling that that would be considered a bit of a hippie way-out attitude in the UK today.
I'm very much "It depends".
A child who sees lots of pen and takes from it 'I'm intrinsically rubbish' is a worrying sign to me. I think there's bit of lacking resilience in places as well as a wider youth mental health issue.
Personally, I think more needs to be done to promote resilience in kids so they can take and respond to constructive criticism without falling apart, but equally more is done to help develop strategies to support young people's mental health and for schools to be aware of mental health issues.
We use green for positive and pink for improvement suggestions. I'm a bit of a rebel and sometimes only use my green pen. I refuse to have to rack my brains to think of how a student could improve a piece of work if they have beyond and above. The culture is rife in schools that you can always improve, teaching observation feedback is a case in point. You can deliver the most 'outstanding' lesson but the observer for some reason feels the need to make 'constructive criticism'. The best one was that I had not corrected the spelling of the word 'tarte' in a food lesson.
I 'deep marked' a set of Yr11 essays and handed them back today: all relevant comments needed to improve their essays as part of exam prep. The amount of students who took comments as personal failure (^it's clearly all shit then, ain't it, Miss?^) was worrying but also annoying - where is their resilience and drive to improve? I believe that actually it's not the marking at fault, but a refusal for schools and parents to ever correct children until the blind panic of exams sets in.
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