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The Grading Scale

Magnvs I

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The purpose of education, as its etymology suggests, is to "lead on" the students, from childhood to adulthood, all the while giving them a sense of identity, purpose, and independence. So there lies my argument. Is this happening? Are students being educated? Or is the system flawed?

Education's intention is benevolent, but I believe that the students are not truly learning. By today's standards; knowledge, value, and general character are all defined by grades. If a student brings home A's, he/she is doing well. If a student brings home F's, he/she is doing poorly.

But do these grades reflect knowledge? I recall one incident at school in which I forgot to take an assignment home. It was a simple mistake; a mere slip-up. That particular assignment was worth 100 points. And this was a course in which there were only 4 or 5 grades, so that little mistake landed me a solid F. Despite the fact that I had mastered the material and could have easily aced a test given the opportunity, I was a failure. Now imagine how I felt, going home to my parents and explaining why my grade card read A A A A B B F.

They were ticked, naturally. It's disheartening to see that even the parents of school students are only worrying about the grades. Get good grades! Get A's and B's! Forget about the arts; forget about literature; just focus on that report card! Then we students can move on to more testing and more busywork! We can continue to cram for our tests, memorizing pointless facts and then forgetting them after the exam! We don't need to LEARN in school!

Several years later, the students graduate from high school. Congratulations! You got straight A's! Now, what did you learn? Who cares, you got straight A's! Here's a high-paying job.

These grades, these letters upon which we base our entire educational system, are flawed. These mere symbols on a sheet of paper stand for nothing. Good intentions aside; we are not learning in school.

Here I stand, a young student with reasonably high "grades", ranting about the inaccuracy of our educational principles.

Am I alone?
 
T

The Real McCoy

Magnvs I said:
The purpose of education, as its etymology suggests, is to "lead on" the students, from childhood to adulthood, all the while giving them a sense of identity, purpose, and independence. So there lies my argument. Is this happening? Are students being educated? Or is the system flawed?

Education's intention is benevolent, but I believe that the students are not truly learning. By today's standards; knowledge, value, and general character are all defined by grades. If a student brings home A's, he/she is doing well. If a student brings home F's, he/she is doing poorly.

But do these grades reflect knowledge? I recall one incident at school in which I forgot to take an assignment home. It was a simple mistake; a mere slip-up. That particular assignment was worth 100 points. And this was a course in which there were only 4 or 5 grades, so that little mistake landed me a solid F. Despite the fact that I had mastered the material and could have easily aced a test given the opportunity, I was a failure. Now imagine how I felt, going home to my parents and explaining why my grade card read A A A A B B F.

They were ticked, naturally. It's disheartening to see that even the parents of school students are only worrying about the grades. Get good grades! Get A's and B's! Forget about the arts; forget about literature; just focus on that report card! Then we students can move on to more testing and more busywork! We can continue to cram for our tests, memorizing pointless facts and then forgetting them after the exam! We don't need to LEARN in school!

Several years later, the students graduate from high school. Congratulations! You got straight A's! Now, what did you learn? Who cares, you got straight A's! Here's a high-paying job.

These grades, these letters upon which we base our entire educational system, are flawed. These mere symbols on a sheet of paper stand for nothing. Good intentions aside; we are not learning in school.

Here I stand, a young student with reasonably high "grades", ranting about the inaccuracy of our educational principles.

Am I alone?
Do you have an alternative solution to the problem?
 

Magnvs I

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A reform of education. I'm aware that such a thing would be difficult, given the large amount of schools and children. Administering to such a large group of people would be quite a task. But my main hope is that schools will at least adopt a better sense of priority. We're so locked down with all the standards and nobody cares about anything but those special letters. Can't we just learn for the sake of learning, the way it was meant to be?
 

Stace

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Magnvs I said:
A reform of education. I'm aware that such a thing would be difficult, given the large amount of schools and children. Administering to such a large group of people would be quite a task. But my main hope is that schools will at least adopt a better sense of priority. We're so locked down with all the standards and nobody cares about anything but those special letters. Can't we just learn for the sake of learning, the way it was meant to be?
Who ever said you couldn't? You can go above and beyond the coursework set to you in school. But there has to be some sort of standard to measure whether or not you are learning what is being set forth in your courses. Sure, it may simply be a bald recitation of the material, without any true understanding, but that's not necessarily the goal. Knowing the material and truly grasping it are two different things, and very few people truly grasp a subject.

Regardless, the grading system as it stands could use quite a bit of reform, you're right there. But what exactly are you proposing? I think that's what The Real McCoy was asking. It's obvious you want change; but what kind of change ,and how much change?
 

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Okay, this might be a bit of a stretch but here I go. All across the U.S.; we build three different "classes" of schools, each dependent on the student's intelligence or work ethics. One would be for "sub-average students," another for "average students," and one other for "gifted students." If a student did work that exceeded or did not meet the standards of their school, they would move up or down to another school accordingly. Grades would be non existant, though if the student's work was incompetent, they would move up or down as I mentioned before. Unfortunately, my system would still rely on the current grading system for placement. Damn!
 
T

The Real McCoy

liberal1 said:
Okay, this might be a bit of a stretch but here I go. All across the U.S.; we build three different "classes" of schools, each dependent on the student's intelligence or work ethics. One would be for "sub-average students," another for "average students," and one other for "gifted students." If a student did work that exceeded or did not meet the standards of their school, they would move up or down to another school accordingly. Grades would be non existant, though if the student's work was incompetent, they would move up or down as I mentioned before. Unfortunately, my system would still rely on the current grading system for placement. Damn!
We sort of have that already, except the three "classes" are all in the same building.

I'm generally not a big fan of government doling out money but here's an idea to toss around: pay students who attend and do well in advanced math or science courses. It'd be a sort of investment for the future and students could make some money without having to worry about balancing an after school job with their studies and other extracurricular activities. I have no idea what the pay rate and criteria should be... any thoughts?
 

Axismaster

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There are children hungering to go to school in the Third World and you are talking about PAYING students?!?!
 

XShipRider

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Magnvs I said:
I recall one incident at school in which I forgot to take an assignment home. It was a simple mistake; a mere slip-up. That particular assignment was worth 100 points. And this was a course in which there were only 4 or 5 grades, so that little mistake landed me a solid F. Despite the fact that I had mastered the material and could have easily aced a test given the opportunity, I was a failure.

Am I alone?
A true learning experience.

The teacher placed a high importance on the assignment in question,
that appears evident. You can chalk this one up to one of life's hard
lessons.

Though I'm finding it hard to fathom a teacher making one homework
assignment the sum total grade for a semester. Did I miss something
in the averaging over the grading period?
 

BodiSatva

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Did I miss something as well?

It sounds as if this teacher has a silly method of grading. How does revamping the entire schooling system help this situation? Perhaps it is up to the teacher to modify the method of grading...for the goal is to have the student understand the material...not t osimply get a grade.

Chalk it up to life's lessons? Yes. This is what school is actually about in the first place. Teaching students to understand life and to learn how to think so that they can make informed decisions.

It also sounds like you place to much importance on grades...

You mastered the material, and you will move on...good job.
 

Kelzie

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BodiSatva said:
Did I miss something as well?

It sounds as if this teacher has a silly method of grading. How does revamping the entire schooling system help this situation? Perhaps it is up to the teacher to modify the method of grading...for the goal is to have the student understand the material...not t osimply get a grade.

Chalk it up to life's lessons? Yes. This is what school is actually about in the first place. Teaching students to understand life and to learn how to think so that they can make informed decisions.

It also sounds like you place to much importance on grades...

You mastered the material, and you will move on...good job.
Does this teacher really have a silly grading method? Try missing a major deadline at work. You'll be fired. Or given an "F" if you will. Doesn't matter how much of the info you know or how well you would have done the assignment. One of a teacher's jobs is preparing their students for the outside world. Some students will have a problem with this.
 

Magnvs I

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Kelzie said:
Does this teacher really have a silly grading method? Try missing a major deadline at work. You'll be fired. Or given an "F" if you will. Doesn't matter how much of the info you know or how well you would have done the assignment. One of a teacher's jobs is preparing their students for the outside world. Some students will have a problem with this.
Yes, yes, you make an excellent point.

I just wish that (aside from occasions such as that) grades wouldn't be focused around busywork. I see plenty of idiots roaming around the school as one of the "Top Twenty" but in reality, they couldn't explain anything from any of their classes - aside from reading their homework assignment to you. Though everyone has a different learning style, most students are only worried about the grades, and not about education or values or the process. It's as though the original intention has been lost; sure, they could tell you a few things about the French Revolution. But they don't really know WHY they're studying it. The essence is fading, it often seems. Perhaps this is the way it was intended to be, but I'm going to keep fighting.
 

BodiSatva

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Kelzie -
"Does this teacher really have a silly grading method? Try missing a major deadline at work. You'll be fired. Or given an "F" if you will. Doesn't matter how much of the info you know or how well you would have done the assignment. One of a teacher's jobs is preparing their students for the outside world. Some students will have a problem with this."

But this is not work...this is school.

Teachers are to help students understand what it takes to succeed in their jobs...but it is not the teachers job to fail students that know the material or that try because they are teaching them to get ready for jobs...unless this class was "Preparing for the Real World 101"

People will whine about "try" but the fact is that teachers are also supposed to motivate students. Helping them learn to try. School is not hard core get prepared to meet every deadline or get fired training. It is about including students and motivating them to take responsibility for their own learning that will then flow int otheir grown up world.

I assume that the teacher takes into account all sorts of learning styles and learning challenges...so I will assume that in this case with this studnet, the outcome was not the end of the world...but this case is not how it should be for every student...that is all I am saying.
 

Kelzie

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BodiSatva said:
Kelzie -
"Does this teacher really have a silly grading method? Try missing a major deadline at work. You'll be fired. Or given an "F" if you will. Doesn't matter how much of the info you know or how well you would have done the assignment. One of a teacher's jobs is preparing their students for the outside world. Some students will have a problem with this."

But this is not work...this is school.

Teachers are to help students understand what it takes to succeed in their jobs...but it is not the teachers job to fail students that know the material or that try because they are teaching them to get ready for jobs...unless this class was "Preparing for the Real World 101"

People will whine about "try" but the fact is that teachers are also supposed to motivate students. Helping them learn to try. School is not hard core get prepared to meet every deadline or get fired training. It is about including students and motivating them to take responsibility for their own learning that will then flow int otheir grown up world.

I assume that the teacher takes into account all sorts of learning styles and learning challenges...so I will assume that in this case with this studnet, the outcome was not the end of the world...but this case is not how it should be for every student...that is all I am saying.
High school is "preparing for the real world 101". If not then, when? When a student graduates and tries to hand in his work assignment three days past a deadline with a cheesy smile and a "Well, at least I know the material." what then? Sorry, that doesn't cut it. One of the purposes of school is to teach personal reponsibility and consequences for your actions. This is even more valuable in high school.
 

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Kelzie said:
High school is "preparing for the real world 101". If not then, when? When a student graduates and tries to hand in his work assignment three days past a deadline with a cheesy smile and a "Well, at least I know the material." what then? Sorry, that doesn't cut it. One of the purposes of school is to teach personal reponsibility and consequences for your actions. This is even more valuable in high school.
I agree with you Kelzie. The grades need to stay. And I really wish the school districts here would go back to a,b,c,d, & F. We have some stupid check, plus, and minus grading system which is ridiculous. Check is satisfactory, plus is better than satisfactory, and minus means unsatisfactory. It just makes it so kids who are failing horribly aren't easily distinguishable from kids who aren't doing as well as they could. Likewise you can't distinguish kids who are doing an absolutely amazing job from kids just doing slighty better than average.
 

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"High school is "preparing for the real world 101". "

High School is NOT "preparing for the real world 101". Period. End of Story.

People may want it to be this, they may think that it is this, but this is neither how it is or how it should be.

School, and high school in general is about helping students percieve the complexity of social, economic, and political problems. It is to help them differentiate between what is important and what is not important. It is about teaching them their rights and responsibilities. It is about teaching them to take responsibility for their own learning. It is about teaching them respect for others that might be different. It is about teaching them to think and to understand all points of view. It is about teaching them to be aware of ethics and to care about quality of life and democracy.

If a student hands something in late with a cheesy smile, it is not for the teacher to sit back with a stern look and tell them that they are a failure or that they failed in their efforts. This is not the military. This is about helping to motivate.

PARENTING is the platform used to teach "preparing for the real world 101".
 
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Kelzie

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BodiSatva said:
"High school is "preparing for the real world 101". "

High School is NOT "preparing for the real world 101". Period. End of Story.

People may want it to be this, they may think that it is this, but this is neither how it is or how it should be.

School, and high school in general is about helping students percieve the complexity of social, economic, and political problems. It is to help them differentiate between what is important and what is not important. It is about teaching them their rights and responsibilities. It is about teaching them to take responsibility for their own learning. It is about teaching them respect for others that might be different. It is about teaching them to think and to understand all points of view. It is about teaching them to be aware of ethics and to care about quality of life and democracy.

If a student hands something in late with a cheesy smile, it is not for the teacher to sit back with a stern look and tell them that they are a failure or that they failed in their efforts. This is not the military. This is about helping to motivate.
You are incorrect. School, all of it-not just high school, is one of many socialization processes for the adult life. It is in school that we learn what is acceptable behavior for employment. Following your logic, we wouldn't even need due dates in school, now would we? Except most people can see that we do. And why? Because it is what is expected of us once we are in the real world. The teacher shouldn't tell the kid that he's a failure. Only that he failed that assignment.
 

BodiSatva

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No I am not incorrect...sorry.

School is a socialization process...sure. But it is not the schools or the teachers JOB to make these lesson a part of their curriculum or the goal of teaching. Socialization is a by-product of the lessons that are taught.

Kelzie - "Following your logic, we wouldn't even need due dates in school, now would we? "

I never said that there should not be due dates...that is a strange thing to say.

Let me repost this, it seems that it was overlooked...
Schhol, "is about including students and motivating them to take responsibility for their own learning that will then flow int otheir grown up world.

I assume that the teacher takes into account all sorts of learning styles and learning challenges...so I will assume that in this case with this studnet, the outcome was not the end of the world...but this case is not how it should be for every student...that is all I am saying. "

Due dates...yes.
Grades...yes.
Failing...yes.
All sorts of yes things out there.

Should these be a blanket rule for all students and is this what school is all about...No. A person that thinks yes does not understand teaching or people very well.

PARENTING is the platform used to teach "preparing for the real world 101".
 

BodiSatva

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and what part was incorrect?

The part that teachers should sit back with stern looks and act like the military?

The part that talks about preparing students for the real world IS the job of the teachers when it is only a by-product of the lesson and the standards?

Or was it this part..."School, and high school in general is about helping students percieve the complexity of social, economic, and political problems. It is to help them differentiate between what is important and what is not important. It is about teaching them their rights and responsibilities. It is about teaching them to take responsibility for their own learning. It is about teaching them respect for others that might be different. It is about teaching them to think and to understand all points of view. It is about teaching them to be aware of ethics and to care about quality of life and democracy"

We seem to disagree on what? That you think that it is the teachers job to do these things. It is part of their job description? It is not. This is not in any contract agreement or job description.
 

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BodiSatva said:
No I am not incorrect...sorry.
You saying so means very little. You have to back it up.

School is a socialization process...sure. But it is not the schools or the teachers JOB to make these lesson a part of their curriculum or the goal of teaching. Socialization is a by-product of the lessons that are taught.
That is absolutely wrong. My best friend just started her first teaching job in high school history. Socialization is very dileberate and is thought of when teachers make their lesson plans. It is one of the many goals in teaching.

Kelzie - "Following your logic, we wouldn't even need due dates in school, now would we? "

I never said that there should not be due dates...that is a strange thing to say.
Not really. You think that failing kids for not turning in an assignment is wrong, because school isn't supposed to prepare you for the real world. It's one more logical step to assume that since due dates prepare you for the real world, you would see no purpose for them in a class room setting.

Let me repost this, it seems that it was overlooked...
Schhol, "is about including students and motivating them to take responsibility for their own learning that will then flow int otheir grown up world.
And nothing motivates you like knowing you will fail an assignment if it is not handed in on time.

I assume that the teacher takes into account all sorts of learning styles and learning challenges...so I will assume that in this case with this studnet, the outcome was not the end of the world...but this case is not how it should be for every student...that is all I am saying. "
That is a very idealistic assumption for a teacher who has four classes of 35 students a day. That's why we have grades, because at some point, students have to stop falling back on the excuse "oh but I don't learn well that way." It doesn't fly in the real world.

Due dates...yes.
Grades...yes.
Failing...yes.
All sorts of yes things out there.

Should these be a blanket rule for all students and is this what school is all about...No. A person that thinks yes does not understand teaching or people very well.
A person that doesn't understand that schools need a standard doesn't understand either real life or the teaching process very well.

PARENTING is the platform used to teach "preparing for the real world 101".
It is certainly one of them. But not the only one.
 

BodiSatva

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Kelzie - "You saying so means very little. You have to back it up."

I did.

Bodi - "School is a socialization process...sure. But it is not the schools or the teachers JOB to make these lesson a part of their curriculum or the goal of teaching. Socialization is a by-product of the lessons that are taught."

"That is absolutely wrong. My best friend just started her first teaching job in high school history. Socialization is very dileberate and is thought of when teachers make their lesson plans. It is one of the many goals in teaching."

School is NOT a socialization process? You say that it is....and good for you friend...good for her, something that she plans and strives for. "It is one of the many goals in teaching." ...It is something that does happen...but it is not part of any curriculum in high school. A goal does not mean that it is part of a job description. "Socialization is a by-product of the lessons that are taught" See how I addressed this. You are into the "deliberate" part. It can be, but it is not required. But this is not about socialization...this is about unbending rules that result in bad grades for SOME students and not taking into account learning styles and individuality. Instead of thinking that you have me against the ropes here over this non-issue, ask your friend if she has a blanket rule on grading and does not take into acount differences...which is what my entire point was in the first place...something that, again, you are not taking into account.

Kelzie - "You think that failing kids for not turning in an assignment is wrong...you would see no purpose for them in a class room setting.

Bodi - "Due dates...yes.
Grades...yes.
Failing...yes."

I guess that you missed this. There is a purpose. Yes. They are needed. Yes. Do not assume to much. Failing kids happens a lot, and it should when necessary. Helping them learn to succeed is the goal though.

Kelzie - "nothing motivates you like knowing you will fail an assignment if it is not handed in on time."

True...

Kelzie - "That is a very idealistic assumption for a teacher who has four classes of 35 students a day. "

No it is not. It is done every day even by some who have 5 classes that average 35 students.

Kelzie - "A person that doesn't understand that schools need a standard doesn't understand either real life or the teaching process very well."

Right. :roll:

Standards are what the education system in CA is all about. This is obvious for a person that DOES know. Where did I indicate that I did not know this? If I did, then I apologize for the miscommunication.

I would like you to find the "Socialization" standard within the California Content Standards for high school curriculum. Like I said, it is a by-product and something that is incorporated so that it helps students understand concepts (outside speakers on topics and filling out applications also help, but they are not required)...but

It is not the JOB of the teacher to socialize the student.
It is the job of the teacher to teach the California Content Standards so that the students understand them.

I will say that most teachers do make an active effort to help in the socialization process, for this does help students understand the lessons better and helps with classroom management issues...behavior modification, etc.
 
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T

The Real McCoy

Axismaster said:
There are children hungering to go to school in the Third World and you are talking about PAYING students?!?!
Whoa, take it easy... the gov't pointlessly pisses away tens of billions of dollars every year.

Are you suggesting we undertake the financially overwhelming and impossible task of schooling all the children in the third world?
 

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Use quotes man! It's hard to follow when you don't.

BodiSatva said:
I did.

Bodi - "School is a socialization process...sure. But it is not the schools or the teachers JOB to make these lesson a part of their curriculum or the goal of teaching. Socialization is a by-product of the lessons that are taught."
That's not backing it up. That's saying the same thing you already said.

School is NOT a socialization process? You say that it is....and good for you friend...good for her, something that she plans and strives for. "It is one of the many goals in teaching." ...It is something that does happen...but it is not part of any curriculum in high school. A goal does not mean that it is part of a job description. "Socialization is a by-product of the lessons that are taught" See how I addressed this. You are into the "deliberate" part. It can be, but it is not required. But this is not about socialization...this is about unbending rules that result in bad grades for SOME students and not taking into account learning styles and individuality. Instead of thinking that you have me against the ropes here over this non-issue, ask your friend if she has a blanket rule on grading and does not take into acount differences...which is what my entire point was in the first place...something that, again, you are not taking into account.
It's got nothing to do with her. There are standards that the states set that she has to follow. Preparing kids for the adult life is one of them.

I guess that you missed this. There is a purpose. Yes. They are needed. Yes. Do not assume to much. Failing kids happens a lot, and it should when necessary. Helping them learn to succeed is the goal though.
I didn't miss anything. Just pointing out where your logic leads to.

No it is not. It is done every day even by some who have 5 classes that average 32-37 students.
Prove it. Prove that teachers that have 185 different students EACH semester can take the time out to figure out individual grading methods for each one. Impractical to say the least. Which is why they have standards.


Right. Standards are what the education system in CA is all about. I would like you to find the "Socialization" standard within the California Content Standards for high school curriculum. Like I said, it is a by-product and something that is incorporated so that it helps students understand concepts (outside speakers on topics and filling out applications also help, but they are not required)...but

It is not the job of the teacher to socialize the student.
It most certainly is. It's not the only job, but it is one of the things they have to do.
 

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I did not say that there needs to be 185 different grading scales. I said that individual student learning styles need to be taken into account. Please stop telling me that I said something that I did not. This theme is happening a bit to much in this conversation. "this is about unbending rules that result in bad grades for SOME students and not taking into account learning styles and individuality." Most students will fall under an umbrella grading system, but many do not. Those have IEP's and Directed Studies...etc. There is ESL/ELL and ADD/ADHD to deal with...there are students who get take home tests and some who get extended time...some need individual help and some do not...some conduct well in instructional conversations and some need more focus and direction. I think that I understand the depth of this subject.

Kelzie - "There are standards that the states set that she has to follow. Preparing kids for the adult life is one of them."

Show me this standard please.

Kelzie - "You think that failing kids for not turning in an assignment is wrong...you would see no purpose for them in a class room setting.

Bodi - "Due dates...yes.
Grades...yes.
Failing...yes.

There is a purpose. Yes. They are needed. Yes. Do not assume to much. Failing kids happens a lot, and it should when necessary. Helping them learn to succeed is the goal though."

So where does my logic lead? It leads to understanding the need for grades apparently...not, ""You think that failing kids for not turning in an assignment is wrong...you would see no purpose for them in a class room setting."

If this leads to another "you are incorrect for there are standards that state that this is in fact a job description" then we should just move on...
 
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talloulou

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BodiSatva said:
If a student hands something in late with a cheesy smile, it is not for the teacher to sit back with a stern look and tell them that they are a failure or that they failed in their efforts. This is not the military. This is about helping to motivate.
It does the student no good to have a teacher that praises shoddy assignments and accepts a low work ethic. This will only enable a child to develop an idea that the world owes them something regardless of what they do. The truth is the world serves those who serve themselves best. Parents and teachers should motivate children but on the same token failing and bad grades should motivate the child to do better if they don't then it's likely nothing will.
 

talloulou

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BodiSatva said:
I said that individual student learning styles need to be taken into account.
Individual learning styles do need to be taken into account. However that does not mean responsibility should be lax. If a child learns differently or works differently then it is up to the parents and the child to figure out how that different learning style can be used to do the work that is required. A teacher doesn't generally care what way you get your homework done by Friday....they care that your homework is done by Friday. If a child has a style that forces them to do different things than the majority of students in the class then they must figure out how to use their different style to achieve the required goal. It undermines students to say the goal must be changed and the bar lowered. You are devaluing the students.
 
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