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<< It occurs to me that the discussion about awarding prizes for best artists
> should be put before students themselves. What do they think about
> awarding prizes?
Not a good idea---the pressure on the students to vote for rewarding prizes
would be too great--like asking them to vote on whether or not they should
a harmless prayer each morning. Furthermore, comparing intellectual
to physical prowess is unsound--unless you've seen something on your TV like
the NBA playoffs going on now, involving teams of artists painting off
each other rather than basketball players dribbling and shooting hoops! >>
But, Joseph, it sounds as if you are saying that there should be no reward
for intellectual success. Is that the reason that Michael Jackson makes so
much more than you or I do? Because we have established a pattern of only
really rewarding physical prowess? Is that why our children wear their
T-shirts at great cost and drool over their sports records and may not even
know who Einstein was? On the other hand perhaps we need more such rewards as
the Nobel Prize and the Pulitzer. I am not saying that we should make
students without artistic talent feel inferior. We have a school wide policy
of giving awards at an assembly at the end of the year. We also have the
Renaissance program for rewarding academic excellence at the end of each
grading period. We try to make as much noise over academic success as we can.
But it is still only equivalent to the roar of the crowd of one football
game.My policy is to give students awards at the last assembly for being good
students with no regard for talent. I feel like that levels the playing field
giving everyone a chance. My academic colleagues give awards for the highest
grades only. And, really, if they are teaching so that everyone has a chance
to learn what they are teaching, then that is fair also.
And I cannot feel that we get a little bit too concerned about putting
pressure on children. A little bit of pressure might keep them too busy to
get into some of the troubles that they get into.