Monday, December 23, 2013

Favorite comments of '13, cont: Auntie Ann, Anonymouses, and Deirdre Mundy

On Are grading trends hurting socially awkward kids?

Auntie Ann said...

We just got out kid's interim report card: it was filled with different versions of "doesn't work well with others". This is a 5th grader who has been bullied at the school from the beginning, and he's being graded on how well he cooperates in class with his tormentors. The school just doesn't get that "cooperative learning" simply brings the playground hierarchy into the classroom and ties kids' grades to where they stand in the social ranking of the class.

This drives us insane.

Furthermore, never, in all the years of these report cards--which will be reviewed by the admissions departments of the schools he will apply to next year--have they ever mentioned that he's been bullied for years. As far as the admissions departments will know, he's a difficult child who doesn't cooperate well. They won't see that he's doing the best he can to keep his head above water in a hostile environment.

Anonymous said...
My son, who scored 99+ on the reading portion of standardized tests every year, was placed in remedial ELA in 8th grade because he did not participate in class.

Deirdre Mundy said...
I think part of the problem is that 'social skills' come naturally to many teachers (which is why they chose a career where they spend all day with PEOPLE and breaks in the faculty lounge with MORE PEOPLE), and so they don't realize that, for a large minority of us (especially the aspies and the ADHD), social skills need to be taught. They chalk our awkwardness up to a lack of experience when really it's a lack of knowledge. So they don't see these things as a huge part of the grade, because they don't even NOTICE their assumptions, and they assume that awkward kids must be interrupting and correcting the teacher and rambling on inappropriately as a deliberate act of malice, not as an actual 'lack knowledge or self control to sit on hands and refrain from launching into a lecture on the topic.'

Which is why they then throw the chalk at us and say 'if you're so smart, why don't YOU teach the class," and then get all mad and start screaming when you take them up on their offer.......

Maybe ed schools need to have enforced group projects with STEM people so that the teachers can learn how other brains work?

Anonymous said...
It also occurs to me that much of what today's educational establishment believes must be taught in the realm of ability to work in a group, is actually developmental and would be learned as a part of the maturing process anyway. Our grandparents and parents apparently learned those skills by the time they were adults -- they worked farms, for example, which is almost never a solitary endeavor overall. They ran stores. They ran households of ten kids. And so on. The other thing they forget is that even today's kids have a lot of exposure to real (as opposed to classroom-invented) team situations ranging from family life to sports teams to amateur theatricals to part-time jobs.

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