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Monday, October 28, 2013

Another Day Another School Project -- ad infinitum

Moses Project: Done. Geography Project: Done -- No it's not!!! Fortunately, we have until Friday.

Unfortunately, this is the part of projects that both Sam and I hate the most: The evaluation. Now, it is possible this may sound like a good idea to you and I do understand the point of being able to assess ones work critically. However, this is not effective for Sam, who takes criticism like a dose of poison! Therefore, it stands to reason, he is not bent toward criticising himself. And if I make 'suggestions', the instinct is for him to stomp off and head for the stairs and a good long sulk, not to mention sass...

Whoever thought up the idea of 'evaluation' did not think about the effort it takes to get some children, Sam is one, to sit down and work on a project. Reasonableness does not work. Threats work. By the end of the process and completion of the project we are both exhausted. The 'evaluation' is  an unwelcome finale.

I say to Sam, "Sam, how do you think you could have done this better?"

Sam says to me, "It's fine. I don't think it can be better."

And so the final tussle ensues. The thing is I should probably let him write that. Except it's 25% of the final mark. That is 5 points out of 20. And now, why don't you guess how much it counts towards the final grade?

Nothing. Niet. Nada. Rien. Nul Point...

And now I want to know why I/we bother -- These 'projects' go on throughout the year. They are a headache. They do serve the purpose, but there should be more of a reward than, 'didn't he do well!'At least, that's what I think!!!

22 comments:

  1. Sounds like trying to spoon up water with a fork! It certainly is a useful skill for kids to learn to evaluate themselves, and so you can only hope some of it will stick with Sam, I guess, but I am really sorry that they can't find a better way of doing it. .

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    1. I just think that the best time for the evaluation is not when you've just completed it!

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  2. Jenny said it better than I could. It's important that children be motivated but there doesn't seem to be any consensus on how to do it.

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    1. Threats often work towards motivation -- as does bribery! Of course, I'm jesting -- sort of!

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  3. I would really dislike the evaluation part of the exercise, from both sides. Interesting to think about how to make it better. I sure don't know, and they sure seem to be a headache, even to me who doesn't have to do it! :-)

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  4. Evaluation used to consist of seeing what mark you obtained....and reading the teacher's comments.

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  5. Evaluation part gives motivation for the kids to know what they have understood. They can also learn many things from it.

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    1. I think it would be more beneficial if the evaluation by the student were given after receiving a grade and remarks from the teacher.

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  6. Dear Broad, I'm in agreement with you. And if the teacher wants to teach the children how to evaluate things then the teacher needs to do so in class through a series of evaluations that she does on projects. She/he--the teacher--needs to teach the skill of evaluation and help children become objective enough to do so. Seeing both what's been done well and what could be done better. That's teaching. Peace.

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    1. I absolutely agree with you, Dee.

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  7. I agree with Dee's comment above. Not all parents have the skills to teach things like this and could do more harm than good. It is such a sensitive area for a kid, after all, and if he/she sees his classmates in the same boat, I think it would help some.

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    1. Poor Broad, will it never end? In my day it was I who did the homework and the teacher who evaluated it by marking and commenting on it. The thought of trying to evaluate a piece of work I've only just finished would be hard for me as an adult, let alone as a child.

      As for homework projects counting towards a final grade, though much has changed since I was at school, I don't think this is how it works at British schools even nowadays.

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    2. It's difficult enough for parents to get their kids to complete their projects so when faced with having to evaluate their own work it can be very problematic.

      As far as final grades are concerned, it was on television this morning that in the future, English and maths will be graded solely on exam results... So why bother with all this other stuff?

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  8. Has the teacher provided any guidelines for what s/he expects in the evaluation section ? It sounds a very sophisticated process for a child so young to deal with....maybe something simple like "Its the best I could do in the circumstances....if I had access to such and such a resource it might have been better, or more thorough ....or something...." I don't know, you must be exhausted !

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    1. No guidelines! Just advice from Grandma!

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  9. I don't think men ever like being critical of there own work regardless of age. I know of one here that is certainly like that!! Have a good weekend Diane

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    1. I think it would be a reasonable exercise if it were done with the teacher on a one on one basis. However, it's always a matter of time and there doesn't seem to ever be enough of that!

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  10. Any idea how the other kids manage? Do you do this in isolation?
    I agree that the whole idea sounds a bit daft, but if it’s rules, it’s rules.

    Poor Broad, are you sure you aren’t doing his evaluating for him? If he’s had enough, he’s had enough. Nothing is ever as serious as it seems and he’ll probably sail through the work that counts towards his results.

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    1. Let's put it this way, Friko -- I try to 'guide' him in a reasonable direction!

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  11. Actually, I think Sam got it right. If it could have been any better, he would (with a little encouragement?) have made it better. How often are self-critical of something when we have done the best we can? Is anything else just self-criticism for the sake of self-criticism? Hmmmm.

    Blessings and Bear hugs to you both!

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Receiving comments is a joy and I thank you all for taking the trouble and showing your interest. Makes me feel all gooey and stuff!