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Old 04-06-2010, 02:25 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
22,380 posts, read 17,165,578 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkb0714 View Post
I am happy for you that your children do well and are well adjusted. Just FYI mine were raised on positive reinforcement and are in national honors society at an even more competitive academy in my district, they also have a good sense of self esteem. The point is that anecdotal evidence is not relevant. Maybe you should read up about the role of specific, infrequently positive reinforcement on children because despite your rant about how you and your children learn that is not remotely the norm.

Finally, I am going to ask again the single most important (IMO) question that you have yet to answer. Don't you think your students realize how negatively you feel about them? Or are they stupid to realize that too?
I don't feel negatively about my students. I feel negatively about the situation I'm teaching under. I also feel negatively about their approach to learning and failure to take responsiblity for their own learning. There's a difference.

You need to read an article called "Life will burst that bubble" or something like that. I'll have to find it. It's about what happens to kids raised on positive reinforcement (THE PC way to say PRAISE) when they hit the real world.

I wouldn't raise my kids that way if you paid me to. I'm glad I wasn't raised that way. My kids know, intrinsically, when they've done well and they know that mistakes are learning experiences that have no bearing on how "smart" they are. I see praise building a fragile self esteem that crumbles if the praise stops. I don't want that for my kids. I want to enable them to succeed. Given that the only thing the school can figure to do with them is to keep pushing them up grade levels, I'd say it's working. Perhaps too well but look at the competition....kids raised on praise.

One of the sad things I see, as a teacher, is NHS students with fragile egos. They're afraid to try anything that doesn't come easily the first time because they're afraid they'll prove they're not worthy of the label they wear. They see themselves as only as good as the last round of praise (usually, their last report card). The problem with positive reinforcement, IMO, is it just creates salivating dogs who do as they are told for only as long as the positive reinforcement lasts. It doesn't teach them how to succeed. But it does give a control mechanism for those who want to rise above them, perhaps, one I should use to my advantage as a teacher. I guess getting students to do what they should, even for the wrong reasons, is a good thing. I just have to figure out how to apply this enmasse.

One on one is not an issue. It's easy to find something a student has, recently, worked through if they're turning in anything at all (and it can be just turning things in). In class and as a class is another issue.

here's the article I was talking about earlier.

http://www.usatoday.com/life/lifesty...f-esteem_x.htm

Last edited by Ivorytickler; 04-06-2010 at 03:04 PM..
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:33 PM
 
9,384 posts, read 5,714,509 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
I don't feel negatively about my students.
1. To be perfectly blunt I do not believe you. All you have done when speaking of your students is about how unpleasant, low achieving, fragile, slackers they are. If you think you can talk that negatively about people and not make them think you dislike them you are deluded.

2. You still do not know the difference between opinion and research which is deeply disturbing in a SCIENCE teacher. Your opinion about praise is unfounded in regards to the research, especially since you ignore the definition given to you and instead substitute your own. Again, you really need to educate yourself because your opinion on you and your children should not be the basis for your approach to education.

Stipek, D. 1993 Motivation to learn from theory to practice. Simon&Schuster

Maag, J. 2001. Rewarded by punishment: reflections on the disuse of positive reinforcement in education. Exceptional Children p173-86



Weiner, B. 1990. History of motivational research in education.
Journal of Educational Psychology. Vol 82(4), 616-22.

3. I sincerely hope that your negative demeanor and unpleasant opinion of your students is an artifact of the nature of this discourse in an online forum. I additionally hope that you are able to practice a bit of what you preach and realize that the advice you are asking for maybe best answered in what you refuse to hear. Good luck.
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:52 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
22,380 posts, read 17,165,578 times
Reputation: 11778
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkb0714 View Post
1. To be perfectly blunt I do not believe you. All you have done when speaking of your students is about how unpleasant, low achieving, fragile, slackers they are. If you think you can talk that negatively about people and not make them think you dislike them you are deluded.

2. You still do not know the difference between opinion and research which is deeply disturbing in a SCIENCE teacher. Your opinion about praise is unfounded in regards to the research, especially since you ignore the definition given to you and instead substitute your own. Again, you really need to educate yourself because your opinion on you and your children should not be the basis for your approach to education.

Stipek, D. 1993 Motivation to learn from theory to practice. Simon&Schuster

Maag, J. 2001. Rewarded by punishment: reflections on the disuse of positive reinforcement in education. Exceptional Children p173-86



Weiner, B. 1990. History of motivational research in education.
Journal of Educational Psychology. Vol 82(4), 616-22.

3. I sincerely hope that your negative demeanor and unpleasant opinion of your students is an artifact of the nature of this discourse in an online forum. I additionally hope that you are able to practice a bit of what you preach and realize that the advice you are asking for maybe best answered in what you refuse to hear. Good luck.
I post one article for you to read and you conclude I don't know the difference between opinoin and research? WOW. You're good, lol. Note, I never called the article research. It's opinion but opinion held by many who have had to deal with kids raised on praise. I've done lots of research on the subject. I simply posted an article for you to read. Much of what is available on this subject is speculation as no one has done a blind study of kids raised on praise and kids raised on constructive criticism. However, we are seeing fragile self esteem at all levels. My professors talk about students who crumble when told to redo something. I've seen this first hand both in my classroom and in industry in my engineering days. There was a sharp decline in the quality of graduates through the 90's but they had great self esteem....until someone criticised anything they did and then they didn't know what to do. I felt really sorry for them but it's up to them to fix it. Some grew up fast, others went looking for someting else or were shown the door.

Even if I hadn't seen first hand and done my own research (curious as to why so many of the interns had big egos and nothing to go with them), I've seen first hand how constructive criticism grows capable young people through her piano teacher who runs a highly successful piano school. You will rarely hear her give praise. I've seen what her students become and I'm glad to sign my kids up. I apply her practices to all aspects of my children's lives because they work.

Praise just develops a Pavlovian response. Like it or not, praise is passing judgement. A positive one but it's passing judegement none the less. Constructive criticism, OTOH, empowers the person to improve the situation.

From what I, and people like the Dean in the article I posted for you see, praise, while nice, doesn't really build solid self esteem. It builds self esteem that lasts only as long as the praise lasts but it leaves one craving the praise. Just like Pavlov's dogs craved a treat when they heard a bell. My children have something more substantial. Not a conditioned response. I feel bad for my students who see themselves as only as good as their last report card. Self esteem should be rooted in something deeper than pats on the back.

You're putting way to much stock in praise based self esteem but that doesn't mean I can't use acknowledgement as a reward to control behaviors in the classroom. It is, after all, what many of my students have been primed for.

Last edited by Ivorytickler; 04-06-2010 at 05:18 PM..
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Old 04-06-2010, 05:21 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
22,380 posts, read 17,165,578 times
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Let's get this back on track please.

To the other teachers out there, how have you used acknowldegement in the high school classroom to increase participation?

I have done things like allowed students who performed a lab very well to show others how they did it but that doesn't get the non participants involved unless they are personal friends of the demonstrators.

Thinking on a whole class basis, how would you apply this. The objective is to get 100% participation in class. I spend way too much time policing behaviors of students who just don't care to do the work to help the ones who do the work and need my attention.
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Old 04-06-2010, 05:32 PM
 
9,384 posts, read 5,714,509 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
I post one article for you to read and you conclude I don't know the difference between opinoin and research? WOW. You're good, lol. Note, I never called the article research. It's opinion but opinion held by many who have had to deal with kids raised on praise. I've done lots of research on the subject. I simply posted an article for you to read. Much of what is available on this subject is speculation as no one has done a blind study of kids raised on praise and kids raised on constructive criticism. However, we are seeing fragile self esteem at all levels. My professors talk about students who crumble when told to redo something. I've seen this first hand both in my classroom and in industry in my engineering days. There was a sharp decline in the quality of graduates through the 90's but they had great self esteem....until someone criticised anything they did and then they didn't know what to do. I felt really sorry for them but it's up to them to fix it. Some grew up fast, others went looking for someting else or were shown the door.

Even if I hadn't seen first hand and done my own research (curious as to why so many of the interns had big egos and nothing to go with them), I've seen first hand how constructive criticism grows capable young people through her piano teacher who runs a highly successful piano school. You will rarely hear her give praise. I've seen what her students become and I'm glad to sign my kids up. I apply her practices to all aspects of my children's lives because they work.

Praise just develops a Pavlovian response. Like it or not, praise is passing judgement. A positive one but it's passing judegement none the less. Constructive criticism, OTOH, empowers the person to improve the situation.

From what I, and people like the Dean in the article I posted for you see, praise, while nice, doesn't really build solid self esteem. It builds self esteem that lasts only as long as the praise lasts but it leaves one craving the praise. Just like Pavlov's dogs craved a treat when they heard a bell. My children have something more substantial. Not a conditioned response. I feel bad for my students who see themselves as only as good as their last report card. Self esteem should be rooted in something deeper than pats on the back.

You're putting way to much stock in praise based self esteem but that doesn't mean I can't use acknowledgement as a reward to control behaviors in the classroom. It is, after all, what many of my students have been primed for.
And you literally have no idea what you are talking about. I never said to give students praise to raise their self esteem. What I said was that students who are not given praise when warranted (and that is a key phrase you are being deliberately or even worse unintentionally obtuse about) have been shown scientifically (and you comment that there has been no research done on the matter is plain WRONG) to reduce motivation.

Your fragile, pathetic "smart" students are the ones who have self esteem problems, I was just trying to help you with the lazy, unmotivated, behavior problems since research has clearly linked positive reinforcement and motivation.

Are you an alternate route teacher? Because you clearly lack the ability to realize that not everyone responds to stimuli the way you and your saintly children do; though to be honest every AR teacher I have met has spent alot of time and thought into the FACT that there are many different learning styles.
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Old 04-06-2010, 07:58 PM
 
Location: Denver area
17,132 posts, read 12,509,696 times
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High school kids are not stupid. They sometimes (often) won't respond when they feel the teacher doesn't want to be there and has no interest or respect for them. I suppose you could say - they need to get over that now because it's a cold hard world out there and their employer isn't going to care what is going on with them....but the fact is, they are children and their world, to some extend does still revolve around themselves mostly. The teachers my kids were most motivated by (and probably me too "back in the day") were those that cared about the whole person. That wasn't necessarily the teacher in your best subject. My guess is the kids don't feel you like them or being there. There is a difference between liking the subject matter and liking teaching. You might like the subject matter but honestly, it doesn't seem like you like teaching - and the kids are sensing this. It's not as "easy" as it looks.
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:06 PM
 
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Let me remind you what I do to help with most of these problems.

First of all, I use a Reality Therapy orientation. Reality therapy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The first few paragraphs will clarify what I mean.

I want my students to demonstrate mastery of the objectives by the end of the school year. That is my stated goal, and all my classroom activities are all focused on that goal. I plan my instruction so that the typical student will learn the objectives in class, with minimal practice outside class. Some students will need less practice, while others need more. This axiom is also central to my practices, as I will explain.

I was the kind of student who needed almost no practice to make nearly perfect scores on tests, and I resented having to spend time on useless (to me) homework assignments in order to make an A in the class. I don't know how, but even though I almost never completed homework, I would still make As for my term grades. I thank my teachers for that. I don't know if our school had a policy for grades or not, but these days most districts do have a fairly detailed grading plan.

So as a teacher, I want to respect those students who, like me, can learn just by paying attention and participating in class. I also want to support those students who may have problems with tests, but who are willing to put in the legwork to do all their assignments well. I want to encourage class participation, while also acknowledging that some students are quiet and reticent by nature, which affects their preferred learning styles.

My grading plan has evolved over the years, but I am very happy with it, and I believe that it would improve some of the situations that you face.

First--my district mandates the weight of daily work and unit tests. In my long experience, we've gone from 80/20 tests and daily weights, to 50/50, and now we're at 60/40. I liked 50/50 best because I could average grades in my head, but 60/40 is fine. Students refused to do homework when it was 80/20 because it just didn't count enough.

I divide the daily average in half--participation and assignments (quizzes, activities, and homework). I start participation with the lowest passing grade, which has been lowered this year to 60. Thus students cannot fail simply because they don't participate. Those who are more motivated or gregarious earn 1 point for most things they DO--reading out loud, doing problems, going to the board, etc., up to 5 points per day. If everyone in the class participates, everyone gets a "free" point, with the student putting them over getting a group "thank you". That is the only time that students who max out can get 6 points in one day. At midterm and end of term, I just add up their points and add them to 60. Very easy to calculate. I can do a class in just a couple of minutes. I limit the total that I use for calculating grades to 110, but this year I don't have many who are going way over. Those with 130+ points are usually the students who are competing for the end of year subject awards, so they can get competitive.

For assignments, I use a quick performance rubric that I had to change for this year. I'm ambivalent about it, but I still think it's working. I'm trying to get our students to focus on their GPAs, so I used to use the traditional 4-point scale. With the change to the district plan, I now have 5 = 100, 4 = 90, etc. I have this posted on the wall because the students never remember it. Any valid attempt gets the lowest passing grade, 1 = 60, even if it's wrong. The point is to get them to TRY and keep trying. I assign the values based on the type of assignment. For an easy 5-8 question quiz, you must get all right to make a 5 and drop one level for each question. For more difficult assignments, I can allow a certain number to be missed for each level of the rubric. For more complicated assignments, I can assign scores more subjectively. This works for everything from essays to vocabulary word search puzzles. I can tell whether the work is nearly complete, more than half done, half done, less than half done, or barely started. So any student who attempts the work will have a passing grade, even if they don't get it right. With A/B block scheduling, this allows me to hold students accountable for their assignments when they are due even after an absence--no make up work on most assignments. They must come outside class to make up quizzes.

The students are guaranteed a passing daily grade if they do all their assignments. The assignments are designed to teach them to master the objectives. So they MUST pass their tests. The exams are long and difficult due to the nature of the subject. Some of the objectives are easier than others, and I also have performance objectives where the students must complete a series of tasks. I allow redo's on performance tests, but not on written ones, which have way more points possible than typical tests. Again, the students are limited to 110 if they score more.

All these practices support our mandate to differentiate instruction and assessment, so it makes my administrators happy. It builds in a way for wayward students and slow learners to succeed in the end, which makes parents and counselors happy. It allows me to legitimize passing students whose performance at the beginning of the year was abysmal, but who pull through in the end, which in my mind, is when it really counts, and that makes me happy.

What I've had to give up is something that most of the other teachers really haven't is holding the kids accountable for everything, all the time, in a mathematically determined world. I also give myself a lot more work at the end of the year when the laggards finally get serious. The administration doesn't like all my grade changes, but they do like that the students and parents are happy, and I can always come back and recite the PDs that they had us sit through about differentiated instruction.

Ultimately, any student can pass if he or she demonstrates mastery by the end of the year, so the kids are happy. I've got the reputation for being a teacher who will work with the kids, so that helps with classroom management. Again, I'm happy!

It all sounds complicated, but it's not. Participation starts at 60 every term and goes up. Assignments get a 5/4/3/2/1/0 score, which makes everything easy to average. And tests, (or as one of my children called them, my "long-ass tests"), are designed to flunk children who don't know it and pass those who do.

Having a sense of being able to pass usually helps to motivate those who are not motivated. Just today, one of the boys in my homeroom who has about a 35 average, began making real progress and is planning to make up all the work that he can. He is an orphan who lives with his 19-year-old brother and has no real adult presence in his life. By keeping the door open to him, I have been able to move him along. I wouldn't have been able to do this if I saw him as the reduction of all his grades.

Of course, there are still some children who slip between the cracks. But as long as everyone knows that the problem is not ME, then my conscience is clear. Everyone knows that if you fail my class, it's because you didn't try hard enough.

I would not be where I am today if not for two college professors who gave me second chances that I did not deserve. So I pay it forward and expect my students who benefit from it to do the same.

This might work for you. At the very least, it can relieve the hassle of grading everything. When does your last grading period start? Ours started last week, as we get out in May.
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:18 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
867 posts, read 1,890,855 times
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Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
Side question to teachers who have done this. How do you have your classes grade homework without them cheating? If just me coming around checking work, publically, helped, maybe having to grade it in class would help (we're not allowed to have them switch papers because the school considers that embarassing to the students who don't do well so they have to grade their own). There are two reasons I ask on this. First, I want to create a better line of learning. I want faster feedback when they've done something wrong. I feel it's too slow for me to collect the work, grade the work and pass it back 2 days later. Second, I'm tired of grading homework assignments. I need to grade the big stuff but I'd love to push the little stuff off of my desk.
Do they do the homework in pencil or pen? Is there a way to have them put away those writing implements and you hand out washable markers... or green pens on one day, purple a different day... (Office Depot and the like usually have boxes of same-colored pens for a reasonable amount - buy a couple of boxes of each. Collect - or have a student collect - the pens at the end of grading so they are ready for the next group and so they don't disappear.) Wouldn't want to do this all the time - should never have them grade their own homework every day of the week - but once or twice a week might help. You would of course need to circulate as you are going over the work to ensure they aren't taking out their pens or pencils to change the answers. I have done this successfully with middle schoolers and have friends who have used a similar method across grade levels (2nd through 12th) and subject areas... Just a thought.
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:13 PM
 
5,532 posts, read 6,733,911 times
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Originally Posted by NoExcuses View Post
Exactly. You have to add pizazz. Make it so they don't know they're learning.
Candy is dandy!

Just let the teachers who throw out candy and gum pay for my child's dental bills! And don't complain to me that they're ADD when they're hyped up on sugar!
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:58 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,063 posts, read 18,060,004 times
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Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
One of the biggest issues I fight is lethargy. Students who would rather, talk, sleep, text, or whatever in class than work. Students who don't do their homework. Who sit there and do nothing even after being told to get to work. How do you deal with them?

Today was a bad day. I had to give a review day for a test tomorrow. About 1/3 of my class was on task and asking questions. The rest treated it like a free period and grades will reflect effort. What do you do when students are not motivated by grades and you're not talking behavior issues that warrant a trip to the office?

Tomorrow I have labs and I'll spend the time chasing the same 2-3 groups in each class MAKING them do the lab. It's like a game to see if they can manage not to do it.

What do you do when students just don't want to do the work. Unfortunately, my classes are required for graduation so taking a different class is not an option. You'd think not graduating would be motivation to try but for many it's not.
Are you paid by how many kids pass the course? If not, let them fail the class. You could have a "how to apply for a low paying job and get welfare" day. Or, you could talk to the parents and tell them they're going to be paying for remedial classes in college.
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