We ask the tough questions and you answer…
An ongoing topic of debate is the fact that some schools and sports clubs award kids with participation medals just for turning up.
After reading a recent blog by The Meddler explaining how during a visit at a relative’s house her daughter saw her cousin’s collection of award ribbons it had us nodding our heads in agreement.
“Out of 13 ribbons, not one single strip of fabric had been awarded for actually winning anything. They were all participation, highly commended or finalist ribbons – handed out to every student in the school, it seems – for simply “showing up”, The Meddler explained.
“What’s the point?! We don’t get a pat on the back for doing the bare minimum in the real world, so why are some schools giving kids ribbons of achievement for simply participating?
“It’s not just the fact that they don’t deserve it, and that this type of thing encourages entitlement and apathy, that bothers me. It’s the fact that these kids are genuinely being robbed of that incredible feeling of satisfaction that comes with being “the best”.
A UK mum refused to accept her sons school attendance award, explaining that she won’t allow him to accept the award – because, she says, “being lucky enough not to get sick” isn’t something to celebrate. (Read more here)
In junior football leagues now they have scrapped score lines and are introducing a “mercy rule” for junior teams being flogged by huge margins. The idea behind it is to stop kids from under 12s to under 16s losing heart and giving up the game – read more on that here.
The big question is – why do we feel that all children need to be sheltered from loss or disappointment and always rewarded and recognised for everything and anything? Why do we feel the need to punish those that truly deserve to be rewarded and instead hand out rewards for whatever might make little Tommy smile. Does it not take away the true meaning of a reward?
We asked you what you thought of the reward and recognition certificates often handed out in Primary schools
Here are just a couple of examples of rewards for Respect, Honesty and Integrity, Learning, Safety and Care & Understanding….
*For returning lost property to a teacher on duty.
*For recommending a series of books that has become very popular in class.
*For holding the door open.
*For attending a book launch
*For always being organised
While some of you thought these rewards were a bit pointless and the behaviour should be totally expected not rewarded, others noted that it is great for teachers to find a reason to reward all kids in the class for some reason or another. I actually don’t think that is the case though to be honest. Neither of my boys have received many awards during Primary School so I don’t think (in our case anyway) that teachers try and do it to reward each student over time. I feel it needs to be a more consistent approach from teachers as I have found over the years some focus on it more than others and it can be quite a mixed message as well at times.
– “Hahaha ummm no These behaviours should be expected”
– “Sounds like kids getting rewarded for contributing to society or being generally decent. You should do those things without being rewarded. Wait till they get in the real world.”
– ” If they get certificates for every little thing then they won’t understand when they don’t get one for something they think is worth the reward.”
– “For me it would depend on a lot of things. If the school has had a lot of trouble with lack of manners, recognising good manners can be the start of a movement towards an improved school culture. A small reward for ‘expected’ behaviours with more prestigious awards for outstanding behaviours can help in that regard.”
– “Maybe a recognition sticker or stamp but not a certificate for those basic common sense/basic manners things.”
-“Hmm i think they sound like being recognised for generally doing things i would expect of my children anyway. I prefer only giving a reward for something that is truly deserving.”
– “Kids need to learn you don’t just get a prize for turning up!!!!”
A good reminder though, “You need to remember while we expect these behaviours not all parents teach them.”
Does your school do participation awards?
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