If anyone reads this ( I doubt it) I wrote this a while ago. Tell me if you think its a decent writing for a high school aged teen. I put a lot of work into this so please give me some feedback. Thanks guys. Or write a counter argument (even better).
Here is a quote to start this off, “In short, good values have to be grown from the inside out. Attempts to short-circuit this process by dangling rewards in front of children are at best ineffective, and at worst counterproductive. Children are likely to become enthusiastic, lifelong learners as a result of being provided with an engaging curriculum; a safe, caring community in which to discover and create; and a significant degree of choice about what (and how and why) they are learning. Rewards–like punishments–are unnecessary when these things are present, and are ultimately destructive in any case.” (Alfie Kohn, The Risk of Rewards). Now yes, they may serve as motivation to those who want them, but isn't the goal of being a teacher to make children lifelong learners? What's the point in rewarding those who do what's expected of them, good grades are a reward in itself. I believe all it does is lose it's luster to the students that earn it, and damages the self esteem of the students who don't earn it. Isn't school a community, and isn't a community a family. I still have yet to see a well functioning “family” that sorts out their children by who does what better, like award ceremonies. We each had our own unique gifts as kids in my family, and we were recognized for that. School should be the same. Does “Caring and Safe” equal “Ranking and Sorting”? No. It does not. Awards lean towards the “Ranking and Sorting” more than the former. Now you may not think of school as a “family” but note this story: This story is about an unnamed girl who had a twin sister. This girl talked about how every year her sister (who was the more academic one) always got an award while she sat in the audience and watched others get called up. Do you think that this may have lead to some resentment in their own family? School may not be a family to you, but it can no doubt damages families. Now if you still don't see my point, As a school, how would the environment feel if we had awards for the “best” teachers on staff? If a school works as a team, why are we awarding individuals. Now say you have two kids, one of which is a child who has two willing capable supportive parents that help them with homework. The other child lives with one parent and that parent has to work like crazy just to live comfortably. Now the “privileged” child is barely engaged in academics, does not work hard at all, but pulls off an A in every class. This other child works as hard as he is capable, has no support at home, but only pulls off an average 70%. Who does the award go to? Still disagree? Well, even if you do, awards, to me, are counterproductive and ultimately hurt children in the long run.
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