Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Grading...Please Explain

I really don't like to give grades to students in a performance based class.   It is so subjective to my observation and evaluation of how I think the student performed a particular exercise or piece of music.    There are so many factors involved.   I will use all boys in this example.   Student A likes to sing and do other forms of music like play piano or another instrument.    Music has been in his family for many years and the whole family is "musical", so being musically talented is natural and it doesn't seem to take much effort.   He has very strong opinions about what music to perform and how it should be done.   There are some students he definitely would not sing with in a small group.    Student B is also musical in that he can read music. sing and play a little piano.   He enjoys a variety of music,  seems easy to get along with and willing to sing with anyone and sing all types of music.   Student C enjoys singing,  has no music background, cannot read a note of music, even has trouble matching his voice with notes so doesn't have a clue if he is singing on the right pitch or not.   He's quiet, never complains, gives 100% effort, has a positive attitude and is willing to stretch himself.   If the grades were based on ability only Student A and B would get very good grades but student C not at all.   If grades are based only on effort and attitude then Student B and C would get high grades and A not.     Now multiply these three students by ten so there is 30 in the class and it really gets challenging to determine who should receive what.    I am trying to include ability, effort and attitude on a weekly bases.  
I am open to a fair, accurate system that will fit a performance base class like choir.  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Remove My Blinders On Homework

     I've been teaching for a long time and have always accepted the "old" school of thought where the teacher knew best and school came first, even when the school day was over with.   These first two chapters opened my eyes that I had been looking at students family life with blinders.   I always assumed there was a quiet place to study, parents that are able and willing to help, time for the child to spend studying, and supplies and materials available to them, including a computer of late.    I always thought that if students did not get their homework finished its because they were lazy and just didn't want to do it.    I still have a hard time dismissing that belief.

     These chapters made me realize that there are many expectations and demands on the students from the moment school is out.    Some have jobs, some have parents that work late so the student goes to a relative or friends house until mom or dad come home,  some live with their grandparents, some must babysit their younger siblings, some have chores or work around the house and just don't have the time to spend on homework until late and then they are so exhausted or tired they can't think clearly to do the work properly.

     There is a change occuring in the parent-school relationship where more power is being taken by the parent and the school having less control.    In my experience I just had been teaching my music classes to have the students perform in concerts and festivals and not realizing the changes that have been taking place.   As a result of reading these first two chapters I am questioning my own reasons for doing what I am doing in the classroom,   what is it that the students should learn in my areas that will help them be more complete human beings and contribute to a better society and life for themselves and others.   I am looking forward to being encouraged and challenged in this book as well as what other colleagues will be writing.

     This is my first hurtle to get over because I have never done or even looked at blogs before.   I just hope this will go where it is suppose to go when I hit publish.

Written by Daryl Wissink