Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gold Stars and Smiley Faces

This piece was written 12 years ago in the States; but where America has gone, we have followed.


Lilyofthefield said...

My goodness, what a wonderful piece. It struck a chord on every line. The Sense Of Entitlement writ large.

I once gave a girl a D for a project, and she was disappointed because she had wanted a C. Her mother came in to see me and actually attempted to sweet-talk a C out of me as though the grade was something I arbitrarily assigned by whim.
When she wouldn't shove off, I gave her the markscheme and the project and said that if she could justify a C to me I would happily give it to the moderator to adjudicate.

Some parents were distinctly cold towards certain members of staff on parents' evenings if they thought their poppets "deserved" a better grade than they got. And you wonder why the kids are like they are......

Anonymous said...

I blame this shocking attitude on the "must have it all now" culture that was created during the 1980s. People, and especially young people, have very little concept now of having to sacrifice their immediate pleasures in order to get rewards later.

The majority (though not all) of this generation have been incredibly spoilt and they don't have the first clue about hard work. If it's not handed to them on a plate, then they don't want it. Sad fact is we have only ourselves to blame. Teachers should have stood up to past governments and said we are not having a national curriculum or league tables, and we wont do the work for these brats just so the schools results look better.

You reap what you sow, not having a backbone has cost this country dear.

Anonymous said...

Not delaying self-gratification is the problem - ie working hard and then getting a good grade. Here is a test for all you teachers out there - it is called the Marshmallow experiment. Offer a pupil a marshmallow now, or say they can wait 30 mins and have 2. Whether a child goes for the first or second offer will determine their approach to important things later. Would be interesting to feedback your results - I am sure Mr Chalk will be interested (and maybe even Jeffrey)

Anonymous said...

There's an article about the Marshmallow Experiment at

The Tefl Tradesman said...

There is a way round this, and we tried it at our college last year. We took a look at the mid-term and Continuous Assessment results, and isolated those students who looked likely to fail. We offered them extra classes before exams, telling them they might fail the course if they didn't do the extra remedial work.

And you know what? It didn't work. No bugger came to the extra classes, and nobody failed. So maybe it did work - they raised their game, without us teachers having to put in extra work! Win-win, eh?