Participation Points

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14 thoughts on “Participation Points”

  1. Alfie Kohn has written a whole book about why it’s wrong to take points away and just as wrong to give points. He argues that grades are what is wrong with our school system. We take in little, bright-eyed kids eager to learn and turn them into bean counters.

  2. Ah!
    We are live again from Rancho Cucamonga High School.

    I’d ask in response to that, Ben, that if a student gets a lower grade on the rubric, isn’t that losing points for using English in class?
    Or is it somehow better to ask the student, “What is inappropriate use of English?” and note that on this day the broke rule number 7 “Speak English only to suggest answers, limit 2 words.”

  3. Ben, which is your commentary in the post and which is the colleague’s? I’m supposing that the italics is the colleague, but not sure.

    I concur with Judy, if anyone wants to understand perhaps the greatest ill in our school system, they should read Punished by Rewards by Alfie Kohn. It’s strange though, those punishments (and rewards) are the very thing that keep the system going as it currently exists, in my opinion. I don’t see how we could get 30 or 20 or even 10 adolescent kids to come and learn together, in the way we ask, day in and day out, in our isolated settings (school rooms), by not resorting to behaviorism.

  4. Jim I think I screwed that up and didn’t quote the teacher properly, which is the part in italics with my comment below. The teacher in a private email had written that he does that – takes participation points away from kids who blurt, etc. – and I wanted to state my own view on that that it doesn’t work for me.

  5. …I don’t see how we could get 30 or 20 or even 10 adolescent kids to come and learn together, in the way we ask, day in and day out, in our isolated settings (school rooms), by not resorting to behaviorism….

    What a comment for discussion. It raises questions about the use of jGR as a tool to instill civil/civic/human values into our kids, to raise the feel of the class to one of mutual respect and exploration of knowledge in a dignified way, honoring what it means to be human, or if we are just delivering instructional services and thereby reducing the classroom business to one that is akin to the farming of animals. We’re being farmed by corporations, and we farm kids for test scores. Is that the way it is now? Maybe it is.

    1. …to raise the feel of the class to one of mutual respect and exploration of knowledge in a dignified way…

      Ben this is pretty “out there”, dude. We all know that, in order to survive as a teacher, you must instruct so as to be in line with the data gods and the enlightened people you work for. In order to do that, to get the job done, you need to back off with all the pie-in-the-sky talk about civics and realize that teaching is all about controlling kids’ behaviors.

      1. …to raise the feel of the class to one of mutual respect and exploration of knowledge in a dignified way…

        Ben this is something I agree with. Well said. We have to stick to our guns that teaching is more than just delivering instruction services. Good job!

  6. I should say that while reading “Punished by Rewards” has convinced me of all the evil that is built into our system, to be honest when I was trying to control large classes of adolescents I gave out participation points, yellow cards, red cards and occasionally retentions. But at least, once you’ve read the book, you can try to do as little harm as possible while still working within the system. I think that jGR, if it’s used correctly, can be considered feedback rather than a punishment or a reward. Everyone needs some feedback. I think that using jGR as a sort of auto-evaluation which the teacher can then validate or not is probably the most effective way of using it as an aid to learning rather than a control system.

  7. Don’t even get me started……………………………………..
    It will take me all of Thanksgiving vacation to summarize my thoughts on this.

    Teach them, Love them, Talk with them, LISTEN to them.

    If ANYONE assigned or took away points from me during my day for my “performance” , or if I had to worry about it, I would be a basket case.

    Stopping now …..before…I get…revved…up…

    with love,
    Laurie

    1. Laurie, that’s a good point. I wouldn’t like it, so why would they? That brings up teacher behavior (coming in late, chatting, using computer, texting…) during meetings/presentations… But I’ll stop there, as per your choice.

      Ben (Lev?), I agree, when we give test scores too much cred in our school, we are dehumanizing our students, treating them more like units than people. Units are countable, measurable, controllable, etc. Humans (the intangible stuff) are not.

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