Monday, June 24, 2013

Smiley and frowny faces

I got to thinking about this when I was grading a round of quizzes. One of my students had written "I didn't study" on the top of her quiz and drawn a frowny face. (And yeah, her performance kind of bore that out).

What I wondered about was: do teachers still draw frowny and smiley faces on student papers? When I was a kid it was fairly common practice (at least, smiley faces were. I guess some students did get frowny faces...) Or has that gone the way of lots of other things that could be seen as "mean" or "exclusionary"?

I will say that for some kids, frowny faces would not be a good motivator. I know for me they would not have been; if I did poorly on an assignment or quiz, even as a fairly young student, I would have felt bad enough about it without the added insult of a frowny face. Too many of those and I'd start to hate the teacher and hate the subject. Or are some students motivated by them? Or do some students need them, do some need the emphasizing that their behavior is not up to par?

(Perhaps that's why so much of the "health news" - lots of which sounds like nannying to me - infuriates me so much and doesn't seem to bother some other people. Perhaps there are people who are really unaware that exercise is good for you, and so, while I am snarling at the television, "What? Do you now want me to do TWO hours a day? When exactly am I supposed to sleep?!?!" there may be people that the message doesn't get through to. (Though a second question arises: how much is it the responsibility of the news media for the populace to "be healthy"? I would say almost none, aside from reporting about things like disease outbreaks or food recalls....)

I don't know. I've never drawn a frowny face on a student paper. Once or twice, in rare occasions, when it was a class I could joke around with AND someone earned a 100% on an exam (which is really rare in my classes), I'd draw a smiley face on it, partly to be funny (they are adults and should not need that motivation).....but that's rare, as I said.

1 comment:

Dave E. said...

I never saw a teacher give out a frowny face to anyone. Seems like it would be salt in the wound to me. I do remember seeing students get smiley faces for moving up a grade, even if it was just a "C".