School Dances and grades

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Sunflower883, Apr 19, 2012.

?

Should middle school students with low grades be allowed to attend school dances?

Poll closed Apr 24, 2012.
  1. Yes

    74.1%
  2. No

    29.6%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Apr 20, 2012

    If it is after school, then yes. A school is a social community - anyone who attends the school should be able to go.

    If it is during school, I would say you could justify not allowing students with low grades to participate, especially kids who are missing large amounts of work due to laziness. They could sit somewhere and make it up.
     
  2. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Apr 23, 2012

    Definitely agree with Alice & silverspoon65 here - dances and other social events build community, which is all too often severely lacking in some schools. So, not only do I think they should occur, but I don't they should be limited to kids who meet certain behavioral or academic requirements. Sometimes the lack of community or engagement in school is why kids aren't doing well behaviorally or academically - to leave those kids out would be to miss out on a huge opportunity to engage with them.

    That being said, there are better and worse ways of doing dances, possibly not even calling them dances at all, but celebrations or something. I think it can create a lot of drama when kids think of dances conceptually in traditional terms, mainly when dates are involved. I think that can get distracting, and probably a bit developmentally insensitive at the middle school level (to create routine opportunities where the social expectation is to have a date for the function).
     
  3. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Apr 23, 2012

    Because otherwise they live in a bubble. This is at least the feeling I get. I went to a title 1 high school, but was in the IB program. Which meant, for the most part, all of my classes were with the same 15, smart kids. But ALL of us took courses outside of IB/AP classes. I think it did us all very well to see not everyone in the world is affluent and future doctors. But, that doesn't mean that they aren't good people who we should respect, and be friends with.
     
  4. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Apr 23, 2012

    I guess from my perspective I would want my kids hanging out with the "good grade kids" more often than the other group. I understand that some students who don't get the best grades are good people. But also when referring to the "bad grade kids" I think that is the stereotypical kids that are being spoken of.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Apr 24, 2012

    My 9 year old daughter is one of those "bad grade kids." She struggles with auditory processing issues, and reading is a huge issue. As a result, every class that includes reading pulls down her average. She excells at math (as long as there are no verbal problems) and the arts.

    She's one of the kindest, most empathetic people I know. Yesterday she made a huge effort to reassure her 12 year old sister that an MRI would be no big deal. Sunday morning she got up extra early to make a Welcome Home poster for her dad, so it would be done before we left for mass. She would give the shirt off her back to a stranger.

    Yet she's a "bad grade kid"-- one of those who apparently isn't smart enough to attend a dance, or nice enough to have the "good kids-- the bright ones" associate with.

    How very very disheartening.
     
  6. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 24, 2012

    Sunflower - if the kids have bad grades because they simply aren't doing their work and have refused extra help or tutoring, then I would agree with them not being allowed to attend the dance, especially since it is held during school hours. I see this more as a reward activity and it makes sense those with poor grades due to their own lack of work should spend the time attending tutor sessions instead.

    If we were talking about playing on a sports team, there would be no question that kids should not be allowed to play if they aren't keeping up their grades, even though that is another opportunity for social bonding.

    I would normally support allowing all kids to attend if the dance were held after school hours, since that would be a more traditional socializing opportunity.

    In fact, the middle school I where I taught last year did both of these activites. About once a month, the P.E. teacher would have a "dance" in the gym during the last part of the day as a reward activity. Since it was a reward, students with poor grades or behavior marks were not allowed to participate. The school also held traditional dances 3-4 times a year. Two were informal dress and 1 was a "formal dance". All students were allowed to attend these, regardless of grades or behavior.
     
  7. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    Apr 24, 2012

    I absolutely agree.

    One of my favorite students this semester is failing my (philosophy) class. He "sucks at tests," as he says. His mom says he never studies. We're negotiating on that front.

    Meanwhile, no student is as genuinely engaged in the subject matter as he is. He energizes discussion during class. He talks to me after class about the ideas we're studying. He see angles others would never notice. He has a wonderful sense of humor. He has a 100% class participation average, and a 53% course average. I look forward to writing his college recommendation.

    We should be very careful to elicit and celebrate the gifts and contributions of all our students. Oh, and let 'em dance too.
     
  8. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 24, 2012

    According to the OP, the "bad grade" kids in this case are the ones that won't do the work and refuse to take advantage of any help offered by the school. There's a significant difference between these kids and the ones who struggle but still try.
     
  9. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Apr 24, 2012

    That is also what I took from it. The quotations around it makes me think of the students who have bad grades that are caused by bad behavior and bad choices.
     
  10. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Apr 24, 2012

    Except that sometimes it's hard to singularly identify who's trying vs. struggling. Sometimes kids don't try because of difficulty or previous failure, so it would be quite a task to conduct an assessment to rule out any difficulty in order to limit participation because of lack of effort.

    Even if you could sometime completely isolate the variable of "effort," I still think that school dances are one of those community building events that offer a different type of engagement that are particularly powerful for kids who are disconnected from school. While it may serve as inadvertent reinforcement for some kids, it would be a way to connect other kids with school that might otherwise not feel much attachment.

    Looking at it from a reinforcement perspective, I've seen schools use distal reinforcement such as dances as incentives for academic achievement and behavior. I haven't worked much at the high school level, but I personally have never seen an elementary or middle school child overcome substantial behavioral difficulty or academic failure in order to attain the reward of participation in a two hour dance months away.

    In other words, even if it makes sense to incorporate reinforcement/punishment in order to change a child's behavior, I think that should be something done on an individual level, and more frequent basis - especially with kids who are experiencing problems significant enough that need intervention.
     
  11. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Apr 24, 2012

    :2cents:
     
  12. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 24, 2012

    I don't feel it is difficult to determine who is trying and who is not. When a student never opens their book, never takes notes, never pays attention in class, spends their time trying to talk to classmates rather than listen to the material being covered and refuses extra help when it is offered....then it is pretty easy to say (s)he is not trying.

    Maybe I'm a bit jaded since I'm working in an alternative school where student apathy is a huge problem. It is very easy for me to tell which students are at least trying to learn the material and which ones are making no effort whatsoever. I understand some kids prefer to do nothing rather than attempt to do something and fail or show that they don't know how to do it. I understand almost every kid in my school either has some major issues outside of school or have made really bad decisions or both. My classes are small enough for me to sit down (literally) at the table with the kids and work one-on-one or in very small groups. When I do this and have 3 kids paying attention and one with his head on the table sleeping, it is pretty easy to figure out which ones are trying.

    Last year, in my middle school, it was a more traditional setting and I agree it was harder to know individual circumstances for each student, but I could still tell which ones were willing to attend my tutoring sessions and which ones would actually TRY to do the work when I had them stay in from recess to complete missing assignments.

    So, I don't think it is really all that hard for experienced teachers to determine if a student really is trying to understand the material and do the work or if they are just passing time till the next class and final bell.

    As for the dances, I explained in my previous posts that our school held two types; one was a "reward" activity held each month during school (and was very IN-formal), while the others were held after school hours and were more traditional and formal. Students with poor grades or behaviors were not allowed to attend the "reward dance", since they had not earned the reward, but they were able to attend the formal dances held after school hours.
     
  13. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Apr 24, 2012

    In terms of identification of students, I think a key would be to operationalize the expectation - to establish certain observable behaviors that would be expected, such as % of assignments turned in, etc.

    Even so, I personally haven't noticed a strong effect on student behavior of distal rewards such as parties. I can't think of a single student I've worked with who struggled significantly with behavior or academics, who then changed significantly because of an impending dance or party. In addition, the kids already doing well behaviorally and academically aren't doing so to attend the party, but because that's just what they do, or because of some other support plan/system. So, I haven't noticed a huge point to these dances/parties other than to build community, which brings me back to my initial point of such an event then being relevant for all kids to attend.

    So, overall, while I think while one might be able to accurately identify kids who met certain explicit expectations representing "effort," the question would by why?
     
  14. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    Apr 24, 2012


    :thumb:
     

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