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qidude


Member

Posted Tue Apr 29th, 2008 11:34pm Post subject: Prizes at school
Hello all,

In the Oscar Wilde podcast, one of the things mentioned was that Wilde won prizes for his classical and biblical Greek. I've seen many references to prizes being won in school, but they have all been British. I have to go back to Tom Sawyer to think of an American reference, and that pertained to Sunday (church) school. My impression, mostly gained from Jeeves and Wooster and other questionable sources, is that the winning of prizes at school in Britain is a huge institutional ritual. I was wondering if that is the case, if it ever really was the case, and if it contributes to the impression we have as Americans that British schools are hard places, full of competition and criticism and willful destruction of students' self-esteem (or perhaps I've just listened to The Wall one too many times.)

Anyway, the whole "school prizes" phenomenon intrigues me, and I'd love to hear more about it.

Thanks,

Shannon

P.S. As I've mentioned, the podcast is clever and entertaining, whether structured or improvised. Thank you again.

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Tourmaline


Member

Posted Thu May 1st, 2008 6:57pm Post subject: Prizes at school
I think they are/were part of the culture of private sector education (ie fee-paying institutions such as Bertie Wooster's Eton) rather than the state sector. Certainly I've never come across them, whether that's due to my education being in the state sector or the 1980s I couldn't say.

Although in infants school (up to age 7) there is some competitiveness on how many stars one has on the class star chart

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amyl_nitrate


Member

Posted Thu May 29th, 2008 2:26pm Post subject: Prizes at school
I don't know where it comes from. My school gave out prizes every year on Presentation Evening and still does. Thing is I never even felt aware of them really until the night itself so there was never any sense of competition or anything. You don't even know how they pick who get's the prize. I think it's just who the teacher thinks is best at the subject. When my sister left they'd added a load of extra prizes given out in the final assembly of the year which are more jokey like 'Loudest', 'Flirtiest', 'Most like to do x' etc which were just certificates. In all the primary schools I've been in they're always giving out certificates and prizes for various stuff to do with sport, achievement and a whole bunch of other stuff throughout the year. It's usually trying to help improve behaviour and achievement. Schools always try different systems like star charts, golden time ladders, merits, house systems and so on. When I was at sixth-form college we had star forms (for when you did something really good or had 100% attendance) and P forms (for when you were bad like you skived a lot or whatever).

Assuming direct control...

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radioactiveduck


Member

Posted Mon Jun 30th, 2008 5:10pm Post subject: Prizes at school
Hmm... I can only really remember getting prizes and certificates and things in primary school, (age 4 -11) and the first couple of years at secondary school. There were things like merit collecting after that but no one could be bothered with it. There is a colours assembly,where people who play a sport for the school got a badge or a tie depending what year they're in. That's about it really. I suppose it depends on the school you go to. Some are big on competition and some are more "every one's special in their own different way so lets not try and find out who's the most special at their speciality". hope that's helped. Probably hasn't though. oh well...

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Dallyhard


Member

Posted Mon Jun 30th, 2008 6:53pm Post subject: Prizes at school
I used to get prizes regulary at school for being stupid. They were called detentions. My parents were awful proud.

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Occy


Member

Posted Tue Jul 1st, 2008 8:01am Post subject: Prizes at school
As a public school (government school for you brits) we are limited in what we can give. Nonetheless we give awards in classes - for example if a student achieves all A's or A+'s they receive an award in that subject. So out of my 95 odd year 11 students I think I gave 3 awards - all in legal studies - none in English. This isn't because I am a bad teacher or they are bad students - it's because of the standard I set in my classroom and it isn't meant to be something easily achieved.

We also have awards for attendance - which i think are a bit...well...yknow...

We have a Dux of school at year 12

And we have state and nationwide competitions in maths, science and english.

As for $$ prizes - ocassionally there is one but its never for more than a couple of hundred and even that is exceedingly rare.

Everyone is expected to have an education in this country and kids who cant afford books and uniforms are provided for - albiet at the most basic level.

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amyl_nitrate


Member

Posted Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 8:42am Post subject: Prizes at school
Hmm... I can only really remember getting prizes and certificates and things in primary school, (age 4 -11) and the first couple of years at secondary school. There were things like merit collecting after that but no one could be bothered with it. There was a colours assembly,where people who played a sport for the school got a badge or a tie depending what year they were in. That's about it really. I suppose it depends on the school you go to. Some are big on competition and some are more "every one's special in their own different way so lets not try and find out who's the most special at their speciality". hope that's helped. Probably hasn't though. oh well...

Yeah it does depend on the school you go to. Mine had a house system and some of the teachers used to get really competitive and would even go round in their house colours and wear clothes with their house name on whenever there was a match or event or whatever. One primary school I worked introduced the house system about two or three years ago and the children got really into it. Whenever a teacher said they were going to give points to someone's house you'd see children round the classroom fisting the hair hissing "Yes!" while others going "Aww." X-D

As a public school (government school for you brits) we are limited in what we can give. Nonetheless we give awards in classes - for example if a student achieves all A's or A+'s they receive an award in that subject. So out of my 95 odd year 11 students I think I gave 3 awards - all in legal studies - none in English. This isn't because I am a bad teacher or they are bad students - it's because of the standard I set in my classroom and it isn't meant to be something easily achieved.


Sounds like an English teacher I used to have in high school. He only ever gave out the top grade to one person once a year which I thought was good. You had to work harder to get the grades. I believe grades, prizes, merits whatever should be earned not given for the sake of being 'fair' and not upsetting anyone. I've never agreed with favouritism in the classroom but I don't believe in doling out prizes willy nilly. I've worked in various schools and in someprimary schools in my town the council have been roling out a behaviour management scheme called butterflies which is just bollock. Giving praise to children when they've done something good is a good thing but it needs to be instant. Then and there, they do something nice and good and you thank them for it or comment on it. But giving out a prize to every child at the end of the session regardless of how each individual child behaved just because a bloody jar's been filled with plastic animals just isn't as effective. I don't see the point if every session the class wins the prize anyway and very rarely doesn't get it. They end up expecting to be given something regardless even when they don't win and moan and fuss about it.

This article from The Times website comes to mind:

Our little emperors: does worrying do more harm than good?
A backlash has begun against the all-must-have-prizes culture that has produced children used to getting their own way


There's so much in this article I've witnessed for myself in schools and nurseries. Children completely used to getting their own way and will have paddies and temper tantrums when they're told to do things like sit on the carpet for carpet time or tidy-up or wait their turn to play with a toy. In some places I've seen children expecting to be given multiple rewards for every little thing they do.

I don't agree with this comment:

We have to decide what we want our children to be – tough go-getters or touchy-feely carers. Or is it even about them?

Why does it have to be one or the other? As one of the commentees at the bottom of the article said. Tough go-getters sounds like Thatcherites to me. We really need a balance between the two as they both have good qualities and aspects to them. Studies on parenting styles show that the ideal style is authoritative not authoritarian. Authoritative is when you set boundaries and discipline your child but you also discuss and talk with your child. Authoritarian is just old fashioned and a "I'm the boss you listen and do what I say" style.

It is becoming a worldwide trend. A recent production of Snow White at a primary school in Japan featured 25 Snow Whites, no dwarfs and no wicked witch, as parents objected to one child being picked out for the title role. In Sweden a boy was prevented from handing out invitations to his birthday party at school because he was “discriminating” against the two classmates he did not invite.

This is just insanity. The school should have just told the parents tough this is how a play works.

[quoteAnother, Jeanette, was concerned that her daughter’s teachers would not correct spelling mistakes, “because she was spelling the words how you said them”, nor correct her writing when she drew letters back to front. [/quote]

I've observed whole class lessons by the teacher like this. She ended writing everything how they sounded it and left the spellings like that so the children all ended up going off and writing up their work how they sounded it and weren't taught the correct spelling at all. You're not even supposed to tell children they're wrong when they get an answer wrong anymore. Not in foundation stage anyway.

Assuming direct control...

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