I am getting more and more pissed off about certificates, in our case presented for good work once a week in assembly. Sure they are a good way of recognising good work publically, but when it's your child getting increasingly despondent that they haven't yet had one this term, when other classmates may have 2 or even 3, they don't work do they? But if you give one to half the class every week then they become devalued. Or do they? If you're in Yr1 any bit of praise and acknowledgement is brilliant, and motivating. Poor ds has to sit and clap everyone else, sometimes more than once, this term but has had nothing himself. He's a nice child, bright, works hard, not above a bit of silliness I know. But if he wasn't getting a certificate because of poor behaviour if expect to be told about that direct, not have to fathom it out from a lack of public praise.
If you were a teacher and a parent raised this with you nicely, would you think they were annoying and pushy, that the child just had to wait his turn, no matter how long it took, or that you had a fair point?
I reckoned you could tell the tick box teachers by what they gave the awards for. They always tended to be bland stuff not really special to the child.
For example when dd1 got one for "getting all her sums right" with one teacher she explained to me that they were doing a new topic and none of the others had got it all right. Very proud she was.
The next year she got a certificate for the same thing, and she was because she said she usually (if not always) got them all right, and so did all the people on her table. It was clearly a tick box exercise for that teacher, and she wrote the name and thought of what it could be for after.
Mind you the first teacher I thought one of her gifts was what she awarded the certificates for. They were always well thought out, directly for that child, and worded in such a way that that child was the only one who could get it-and every child had at least one a term. Really motivating for the children, because they felt they'd worked and deserved it.
I was the overlooked forgotten child. All the way through school too. So we are talking several years and many teachers. Quiet, worked hard but was never top of class, shy, well behaved, etc. After that I knew it was very possible for children to be the overlooked forgotten child.
I like the certificate system our DC's school have. Once a week, one child per class, plus odd extra ones for children nominated by non-class teachers for deserving reasons , are put in the golden book. And parents are invited to the assembly to see their child receive their certificate and have the teacher say nice things about them in front of the whole school.
I was there once when DS was in it (for asking good questions on a field trip) and a YR child was in it for writing his name well.
I have no idea whether or not it's a 'make sure every child gets in at least once a year' deal or not, but I had words with DD to tell her that it doesn't matter if you're not in it, but it's a really good thing if you are, and that she may never get in it at all in her time at the school, after she was moaning about not being in it. She seemed to accept that. Then a couple of weeks later she was in it.
I also like that they get occasional stickers. They usually have them on their jumpers when they come out so that the parent will then be prompted to ask them what they got the sticker for. This way the parent gets to know what the child has done well without the teacher having to take the time to speak to the parents. Sounds like a good motivator for the child and a time saver for the teacher. Win-win!
If a parent came and asked me why their child hadn't received a certificate yet (we are expected to give out one per week, linked to the school values) I would explain that I haven't yet felt that their child deserved a certificate over and above the child it's been awarded to each week.
I keep a record of what the certificates are given for so that children aren't given two certificates for the same thing...my own DD1 has received certificates at her school for 'being polite, hard-working and an excellent role model' or something to that effect. Whilst it's lovely that she's noticed for those things, that's just how she is at school. I would prefer that she was recognised for taking a risk with her learning or working to achieve something out of her comfort zone as I think this would have more impact upon her than being given a certificate for being an 'easy pupil'.
Children in my class know that the certificates are not an entitlement and that it's not a turn-taking thing. Every certificate that I give out is genuine - they aren't being given out just for being in my class!
And they call themselves a school?? WHAT are they teaching this child?
That it's never too late to turn things around, and that there is an alternative way to behave? That you can get attention for positive behaviour, rather than negative? That no personality is set in stone and that, with the correct encouragement, everyone can succeed?