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'Star of the day' system for yr 1 - RANT (apologies)

64 replies

ipanemabunny · 23/03/2007 09:38

My ds is in an ELS group of about 6 or 7 children.
The 'Star of the Day' award is clearly for the child who has been the quietest and has sat the most still and not made a sound etc.
My ds is never going to be a mouse or a statue. He is a normally active and excited boy - I'm so sick of the messages he gets that the meek, quiet, pliable, compliant get festooned with awards!
Of course those children should be rewarded (and I'm sure they're EASIER TO TEACH...) but what about other qualities that enable communication and language like confidence? vocabulary? general verbal skills? expressiveness? passion? imagination? sense of humour? narrative skills? acting skills? musical skills? creativity?????? Shouldn't they get some room for praise too?
This is not the USSR or China - we don't want to just breed drones do we????
Awards should not be set higher than a child can achieve and they should vary in what they reward shouldn't they????
My ds was in tears last night saying "it's too hard, I can't do it, I'm not going to get a shiny pencil - wailing and sobbing"

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southeastastra · 23/03/2007 09:39

aw poor thing! i hate the awards system too , it always goes to the same children. my son has really done well this term a small award would really do great things for his confidence.

Hulababy · 23/03/2007 09:41

Is the star if the day purely for those who are the quietest child? That would seem very odd, especially at Y1 age.

Have you spoken to the teacher about the system and how it works?

For me a star of the day system should aim to praise at least every child int he class once - all children have their good points, which could easily be turned into something to reward.

Saturn74 · 23/03/2007 09:41

No, it's not fair.
There doesn't seem time in class any more for teachers to just chat with the children, or for a less 'sit still, be quiet and listen to me' approach.
It is very .

DANCESwithaTruckLoadOfMiniEggs · 23/03/2007 09:41

How do you know star of the day is for sitting still and quiet. In my class it could be for anything...remembering to say thank you, trying really hard, helping a friend...anything that made a child shine.

SmileyGirl · 23/03/2007 09:49

As a teacher and a parent, I understand your concerns. However, I would urge you to have a chat with the teacher (in a non-confrontational way will get you much further in my experience). If what you say is true, then it must certainly be challenged, but carefully investigated first. My dd's school is wonderful in the way it actively seeks the individual's strengths. ie. when we went to parents' evening we were told that she was 'nature smart' and '2D/3D smart'amongst other things. The school has many different 'SMARTS' which they recognise and celebrate. I don't know if this is more widespread than this school, but Ofsted loved it - and much more importantly, so do the pupils and parents.

ipanemabunny · 23/03/2007 09:58

Thanks for these replies.

Actually no, it's not just for sitting still and being meek. He has got 3 star of the days in his els group but there are only 4 more days before he finishes els. And he needs five stars to get this godforsaken "shiny pencil' which is nirvana to him!
The els teacher knows how desperate he is to be star of the day and knows he's really trying and yesterday he got really close but whispered once - and boom - lost it!
In the class they get stickers for other things it's true but in els really it seems that it's virtually impossible for him to achieve it.
I have spoken to the teaching assistant but I think she sees it as just about being 'good' (quiet/still). She looks pained for him but doesn't seem to think there's a problem with the system.
The child in the class who has about 100% more stickers than any other child is as quiet as a mouse, hardly speaks is a total angel but spent the whole of the last two class assemblies in floods of tears because she didn't want to stand up in front of the school. She is the meekest child in the world - THAT"S FINE but what about all the other great personal skills your average child has!?!
Forgive the rant - I just feel so sorry for him. I'm going to speak to her again today in a really positive supportive way

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singersgirl · 23/03/2007 10:01

I hate the whole thing too. 2 children a week from each class get Star of the Week certificates, which means by now the whole class must have got one, and my DS2 hasn't. He is 5.6, the youngest in his class, in top groups for everything, achieving well, articulate and funny.... Surely there must be something he has done well enough to be rewarded for, even if he doesn't always finish all his work.

dejags · 23/03/2007 10:05

this sounds so familiar to the system at my DS's school. It all culminated in him lying about being awarded the f**king thing and crying inconsolably before school one morning.

I was totally horrified - he is also in Y1. I spoke to his teacher about it and although he is now progressing in terms of being given an award it's slow going.

Arrghhhh... how can any teacher expect all 18 children in class to be quiet, still etc etc. It's almost like any show of life is discouraged. I truly despise this attitude.

My sons situation goes a bit deeper on a psychological level but I am so with you on this one.

TinyGang · 23/03/2007 10:05

They should be handing them out for personal achievements not just in comparison to everyone else. That's what ours does - well they get little certificates and a round of applause.

ipanemabunny · 23/03/2007 10:06

It is hard singersgirl isn't it?
I feel I spend my time trying to counteract some of the messages he gets from school!
Not everything there is bad but the: "Meek Silence Is Good" is pretty deafening!

But you know I took him to a new drama class last night for the first time, he knew no one and he joined in straight away, copied the dancing & was hugely confident - I was so proud of him. But one hour before this he was crying "I'm the silliest baddest boy in the world"

We're certainly not giving him that message at home. My dh says that ds is a drama queen and not to take it too literally. But I think there is some truth in ds not feeling that he's a success at school.

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TinyGang · 23/03/2007 10:09

Meant to add it shouldn't always be a reward for academic things either. My ds was awarded one for being kind and friendly to a new boy who had trouble settling in.

If they can't look for the good intentions of children at this age it seems a terrible shame.

majorstress · 23/03/2007 10:13

my dd1 gets endless stars, stickers and prizes-but it ANNOYS me that almost all of them are for being quiet and sitting nicely. What about trying hard, or making friends, or other good stuff?

It is also telling me that lately the class behaviour has been deteriorating, (OR that she is getting old to tell me how much time is wasted with waiting for the teacher to get control.) They have to spend too much time on behaviour to the detriment of learning.

Yesterday she came home unhappy because she had had to be late for her dance club, because the whole class apart from her had a time out, and she had to wait while they had it. (Sounds like she's lying doesn't it but probably not, she's a real annoying goody 2 shoes ).

SO the focus is overly on pliable behaviour. What is the answer, teachers? would more assistants in the classroom help, for example? Smaller classes? How should this extra government money, if it is real, be spent?

singersgirl · 23/03/2007 10:18

Once in Reception DS1 got a sticker for 'good sitting'! Yeah, he's been working on it since he was about 6 months old...

I sometimes feel that DS2 is penalised because he is academically able. The teacher thinks he should be able to do better, behave better, colour in more neatly, finish his work more often. But he is only a day older than the oldest children in the year below, and some of these things are just much harder for him than for a child 6-12 months older than him.

I find myself giving him the message that colouring in isn't important, because I hate to see him crushed, but I know I shouldn't really undermine his teacher.

ipanemabunny · 23/03/2007 10:20

I agree TinyGang. I feel so upset for him that I'm not rational! dh says try not to dwell on it and get on with boosting him in every other way we can but I don't want ds to feel like a failure when he, like most of the class, has so many varied strengths.
Not sure how to approach it with els teacher - she seems not to have a huge imagination.... sigh.....

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kslatts · 23/03/2007 10:23

Our school has a system that works well, on a friday they have a proud assembly and get a sticker if they have done something during the week to be especially proud of, they can be nominated by their teacher for something they have done in class, by their parent for something done at home or by a classmate, they can also nominate themselves if they feel really proud about something they have done.

TinyGang · 23/03/2007 10:28

It's crazy isn't it because drive, imagination, creativity and a strong personalities are the very things I keep hearing in the news are lacking in us as a nation when we are compared to other countries who achieve better results than us in so many areas.

Individuality is a good trait, but as you say, maybe harder to teach or harness.

homemama · 23/03/2007 10:28

If this was a whole class system I'd be shocked but the ELS programme is so tight, I can see why they're doing it (though I disagree with it) However, he should have 6 children maximum in this group so plenty of scope to make sure that by the end of the run they have all achieved their shiny pencil even if or some it's on the final day. In Y1, they're far too young to think,'hang on I'll get it anyway so why bother', so no worries there.

I'd go in next week and explain how hard he is trying. Say how upset he is if he's missed it each session and tell his teacher that your worried that if he doesn't get his final star, you're not sure he'll ever respond to any other insentive scheme.

Good luck AND, if she doesn't agree then she shouldn't be teaching 5yr olds!

Millarkie · 23/03/2007 10:33

We had 'star of the day' in reception - my ds was never chosen - I had a word with his teachers and they said that it averages out and every child would be chosen about twice a term..he was still never chosen. He has hearing impairment which means that he lip-reads in class, he finds it very tiring to concentrateon lip reading for a long time so loses concentration during carpet time, and he also kept getting told off for not doing things when the teacher had been talking to the back of his head.
He is now in year 1 - has had an operation to give him back some hearing, but according to his teacher he won't try to do his work because he has such little confidence in himself - something which I am sure wasn 't helped by spending all of last year getting told off for things he wasn't aware of.
In year 1 they have the annoying bear that is taken home for the weekend by the best behaved child - ds has never had that either.
There have been a number of similar issues too.
We are now planning to move him into a non-selective private school to try to boost what's left of his confidence, but we are lucky to be able to afford it.

homemama · 23/03/2007 10:41

Millarkie, so for your DS. This makes me so cross! As they get older children have a better understanding of the concept that they will only be rewarded for effort of achievement-that's fine! When they are little like this, their world goes from day today and they quickly learn to feel and act like failures. IME, those kids who are regularly rewarded at infant level are the ones most likely to continue to put the effort in as they get older. If a child reaches the junior having never been rewarded they will have the mind set of 'why bother'. Argggh, makes me so and gives us teachers a bad name!

ipanemabunny · 23/03/2007 10:44

Thanks millarkie, it is unbelievable how unfair the system can be isn't it? It should be a level playing field in at least some respects shouldn't it? I don't believe that all must have prizes exactly but how do we learn without CONFIDENCE?

He's about to finish this els course and his strongest memory will be that he was the loser of the group!

Great!!!! That's quite an achievement isn't it!!!

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Twiglett · 23/03/2007 10:53

I don't know what ELS is but I understand it is a special session

perhaps its a special session where it is importnat to be able to listen and concentrate

in which case yes they will be rewarded for being quiet

I know how you feel because DS (also year 1) was constantly getting warnings for talking during carpet time .. we've instigated a check chart at home and a reward system where he manages 15 days without a warning because he's making the 'right choice' (which is to listen and be quiet during the appropriate times) .. I have also encouraged the teacher in the last few months to focus on the positive aspects of his behaviour because I noticed I was asking him about how many warnings (ie negatives) before I'd ask him about good things (stickers / what he learned)

I wouldn't automatically get up in arms about them being encouraged to be quiet and listen it is an extremely important skill and goes against them being the centre of attention in their home lives .. which is why I think it can be difficult for some children in the early years

lucykate · 23/03/2007 10:53

at dd's school, they do the same star of the day scheme. they make stars on the first day of each term which are then laminated and made into badges. its also, the quietest, one who sits still who is awarded the star, or as dh puts it, the most compliant child. we know this as we've asked dd, and she says star of the day is the person 'who sits nicely' in her words. (dd is in reception but in a mixed class of 10 reception, plus 20 year1, so 30 altogether)

we're not keen on the whole idea at all, it should be for a greater achievement than just sitting still.

Twiglett · 23/03/2007 10:55

sitting still

all very important skills in being educated

I think we should all remember that

Twiglett · 23/03/2007 10:56

not about being meek and compliant although it is easy for parents to make that assumption because they are not in control of that aspect of their childs life .. its about understanding correct modes of behaviour at different stages of the school day and making the right choice

ipanemabunny · 23/03/2007 10:58

But twiglett, how much harder is it for your average 6 yr old boy to sit still and concentrate then for your average 6 year old girl. Tons of research exists now that holds up clear developmental and physiological, pyschological, cultural, hormonal differences.
Of course they need to sit still but language learning involves a massive complex of other things too (as I mentioned below, verbal skills, confidence, articulacy, vocabulary, imagination, recall, narrative skills, curiosity etc etc)

Surely we have to reward appropriately and have reasonable expectations? Otherwise we teach them that they are somehow essentially Not Good Enough!
Look at the massive problems in the education of boys in this country! I think I'm seeing the beginning of it with my ds.
The subliminal message is imo : don't be a boy, don't be yourself! You're more of a pain to teach, so you shall not be rewarded!

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