Changing student focus

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by GTB4GT, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    Jan 18, 2019

    I am a teacher who entered the profession after numerous years in other fields. I have noticed that 95% (guesstimate) of all conversations, discussions, meetings. formal or informal conversations, etc. that I have with my students are centered around grades, grading policies, extra credit, etc. The other 5% is about the actual content and understanding the material. Imo, the ratios should be reversed...If you understand he material, the grades will take care of themselves. Is my thinking incorrect here?

    For discussion sake, or just for my own curiosity, what is happening in the process such that students are unable to connect the dots. How can we address this issue? Do you perceive it as an issue? I have taught at 2 schools and the 95/5 proportion has been roughly the same at both. And these 2 schools have been at the opposite ends of the socio-economic spectrum fwiiw. Thanks for any and all comments..
     
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  3. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Jan 18, 2019

    I agree that our system puts the focus on grades rather than content. We all have those kids (and parents) who are obsessed with their grades, but don't seem at all concerned about whether they have actually learned anything. I also have seen students who were very engaged in class discussions about content, but rarely turned in work and didn't seem motivated by grades at all. I have heard the "old timers" say they thought it got worse once we went to online grade systems that let kids and parents see their grades for every assignment instantly. I really don't think this is a new problem, though -- I remember being in high school in the 90's and one of my snarky teachers calling us (Honors students) "greedy grade grubbers." The only difference I see is that back then teachers could get away with calling it like they saw it, lol!
     
  4. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Jan 18, 2019

    Our entire educational system is based around grades. Not only that, a student's worth and character is based around grades. That is how they are judged by the educational system, as well as society.

    One trend that makes students care less about knowledge is the educational system's mantra that knowing information isn't important since it can be looked up. For the last 15 years or more, the push is that retaining information is unnecessary. I see not caring about learning material is an unintended consequence of this push to eliminate memorizing information. I believe you can't think or understand without knowing information.
     
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  5. MathGuy31

    MathGuy31 Rookie

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    Jan 26, 2019

    I think our trend is going downhill. You see, as a very dedicated teacher like you a2z, you care about students learning rather than just the grade. I'm glad you are teaching our students but the state is making things harder but hope you continue to stay and be a value to our students. You are amazing!
     
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  6. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Jan 27, 2019

    If the students learn and master the course content, then the grades should follow, not the converse. I think teachers should focus more on mastery. For example, when new students come to my school they take a diagnostic on math, English, and foreign language and are placed according to the results of said diagnostic. Then, they are taught the same thing (even if it is rudimentary) until they demonstrate mastery and the teacher then moves on. We try to maintain pace with the yearly overview, but we sometimes have to deviate from it for the students who need intervention and reinforcement.
     
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  7. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Feb 8, 2019


    Guess I'm a snarky teacher because I call my students that when they act like it.
     
  8. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Feb 9, 2019

    While the trend is getting extremely high grades, I do not focus on grades in my classroom. I am a lot more concerned with my student's lesson understanding and enjoyment. I think grades (especially in middle school and high school) are basically a legal form of gambling, in my absolute honest opinion. I prefer my students to get a 50% on a reading or math test, after getting a 35% on the previous reading or math test. NOT.......getting a 100% on everything. I go as far as not using the phrase "good grades".......I say "your best grade". I am a few students where their best grade might be a 50%. I encourage learning and growth.
     
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  9. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Feb 9, 2019

    I find these assessments ridiculous. I understand that these assessments are required, but I would rather see progress over a couple months in a moderate-leveled class.
     
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  10. MathGuy31

    MathGuy31 Rookie

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    Feb 9, 2019

    Maybe this is something that is getting students ready for college too. Because test grades and essay grades are the biggest part of college. Yes, there are other sections of the syllabus that count, participation, discussions, ect but the biggest component are tests and written papers.
     
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