Monday, March 19, 2012

C4T #2

For C4T #2, I was assigned to Paige Vitulli who is the Assistant Professor of Education here at the University of South Alabama. Her blog is entitled, "Pondering Paige". I truly enjoyed her blog. The first post of hers that I commented on discussed The Mobile Museum of Art's exhibit of the birds of John James Audubon. After taking her class of future elementary school teachers on a field trip to the exhibit, she had them each pick a bird of their choice and use materials that would be accessible to any elementary school to create the image. I think this was a great assignment and would also be wonderful to use in the classroom one day. I love that she had the students use resources available to most schools and that the assignment would be a great way to include art into a science lesson.

drawings of birds

The second post I commented on was a video entitled, "Pay for Grades: Does Cash Work for Students?". This was quite an interesting video. It dealt with a small town in Ohio that began a program in one of their elementary schools that offered students cash rewards for passing standardized tests. The students received money for each subject they passed on the test up to one-hundred dollars. There were complications, however, associated with this program. First of all, there was the concern that a cash reward would interfere with the process of learning simply to learn. Many of the teacher's felt it would take away from the student wanting to do well for themselves if the thought of cash is what spurred their learning. Cash rewards also created competition between the students and caused much pressure on the student to do well. One big concern, which I fully agree with, is the reasoning that the teacher should be the motivation for the student, not money. The students that spoke on the video said the only reason they studied and worked hard was because of the cash incentive. The results of the cash for grades program only showed improvement in Math but not the other subjects. The school has since taken away the cash incentives for the other subjects except for Math and are evaluating whether or not to keep the program at all. Another repercussion of the program was that once the cash incentive was no longer there, grades began slipping.
I commented on the video and expressed my feelings of dismay for the program. One thing the video mentioned was that this school dealt with low resources such as textbooks. My feelings on this is why not take that money that was offered to students and use it to help the school? New textbooks and smartboards could make a huge difference in the learning of the students. A child needs to be kept engaged and it is the teacher's job to make learning fun and create a welcoming atmosphere conducive to learning and creativity. In my comment, I stated that I felt this program came across as laziness on the school board's and teachers' part and that if test scores are low, then there are many other options available to improve them then turning to money. I don't even consider cash incentives as a last resort but rather that it should have never even been an option. It clearly did not do much good and I hope that this does not become a trend across the country. I have included in my post the video so watch it and tell me what you think about the topic.

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