Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Favorite comments of '13, cont: Anonymouses, 1crosbycat, and kcab

On Responses to comments on "Are Grading Trends Hurting Socially Akward Kids"



momof4 said...
Even socially adept kids may hate group work - mine did because they were always supposed to give someone a free ride, either because the kid(s) wouldn't do the work or because the work wouldn't be A level. They wanted to be left alone to do their own work and they hated wasting time. They didn't mind doing/listening to BRIEF presentations, in theory, but spending a week enduring all the girls in the 4th-grade class acting out a scene from their book (with costumes and a friend or two) was high-level torture - at least 45" minutes each, for about 12 girls... They weren't allowed to do a book report; a diorama was the least painful option. It's a wonder that the sight of a shoebox doesn't send me, my daughter or my sons into a panic attack.

Anonymous said...
There are a lot of us in our late 30's and early 40's who have never been diagnosed with Asperger's or autism, but who see kids with personalities like ours get that label. As one of them, I have mixed feelings. It's true that in my day, schools made no special accommodations to kids like me, but it's also true that there was no need. Clearly defined work and clearly defined rules of conduct made for an environment where kids like me could thrive.

Like many kids, I was discouraged from arts classes and drama classes precisely because I was not a good team player, and I was fine with that. But to think that my prospects in other subjects would be compromised because I didn't fare well with group work or mix this nonsense into my math homework, I find this development deplorable.

1crosbycat said...
When my smart and shy (but not Asperger's) daughter was given her classes for 8th grade, she was not assigned pre-AP English or pre-AP Social Studies because the 7th grade teachers felt she would not "do well" participating in the Socratic circles, which now seem to be the mainstay of high school AP English and Social Studies classes. I got her re-assigned by meeting with her guidance counselor and she did well in English, and not well in Social Studies (worldview differences with teacher). I can see no way to accomodate socially awkward kids in these AP classes where participation counts for a significant part of the grade and when the class is centered around this type of discussion. These kids are excluded from the AP opportunities and placed in slower-paced (boring to gifted kid) regular classes. With schools often being very large with duplicate classes, I suggested that not all of them had to be geared toward the outgoing students, and with computerized scheduling it shouldn't be all that difficult to schedule high school classes specifically as is done in college. The school didn't care and the kids didn't have any compassion for the shy kids either from feedback I received.

Anonymous said...
An under appreciated problem with the new social dynamics in the classroom is the potential for bullying of socially inept kids or kids with autism or learning disabilities. Teachers used to try to mitigate social interactions, and grades were a great equalizer for bright but awkward kids. Now, it's open season, with socially dominant kids running group activities, and classroom bullying is rampant. Teachers now have the attitude that kids need to learn to deal with the inappropriate behavior of classmates rather than trying to stop it. Teachers place kids in social situations that the child or parent would never choose to be in, and then leave the kids to work it out amongst themselves. How is an awkward child supposed to succeed?

kcab said...
I was thinking about this topic last night and realized that the social grading trends harm those who are at a social disadvantage for reasons other than social awkwardness too. For example, a student who is new in town, or one who is perceived as perhaps being in a lower social class. I think both of those are affecting the grades received by my (extroverted, neurotypical, smart, funny, non-stylish, non-made-up) high school sophomore. Typically she has benefited from grade schemes that reward social adeptness, but that seems not to be the case in her new high school.

So, I think I see the type of grading discussed in the article as an issue for anyone who is at a social disadvantage, whether it is permanent or temporary, neurological or due to external circumstances.

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