Jun 28, 2012


Time to Re-think School Award Ceremonies?

"June 1, 2010 marked the end of a tradition at our school - a tradition that awarded a select few top students not for their efforts and learning but for their grades and achievements. Based on powerful dialogue with our Parent Advisory Council around a strength-based versus deficit-based focus, the staff at Kent School decided to abolish the' awards' part of the year end ceremony."

"Grades are extrinsic motivators while learning results in more intrinsic motivation.  So, do we want students to motivated by grades or learning?"

"Carol Dweck, in her book, Mindset, talks about the difference between praising students for their effort and ability. If we praise students for 'being smart' or 'being athletic', research says that we create students who are afraid to take risks and usually shy away from challenges. What kind of students do we want - those that rise to the challenge and take risks or those that believe that what they can or cannot do is 'fixed' and based on how 'smart' they are."

"There will be no honour roll, no academic winners (and losers), no athletic award winners (and losers) and no recognition that one student's talents are better than another.  The focus will be on EACH student and not just CERTAIN students. In addition, all students would be recognized daily in class and throughout the year at our monthly student assemblies."

I like the idea of no award ceremony--I don't think it motivates a majority of the students. For many students, they don't even understand why they earn the awards. I simply sit in my class and make up grades and conduct and attendance records. Recognizing all students seems like overkill. I hate to break hearts but not every student earns recognition for every period of time. I guess it helps to put the emphasis on learning and growth rather than grades. Something to think about.

1 comment:

  1. Changes in the way we do our awards ceremonies is due. I think a compromise of sorts is order since we don't educate the kids all the way through college they need to understand and have ownership in their grades, but I think recognizing kids with A, an honor roll etc. needs to change. just don't do away with perfect attendance awards.