Many parents are up in arms after a Calgary school decided to drop all academic achievement award ceremonies. The school board wrote in a letter to parents that awards don’t mean much to their recipients and “often hurt the self-esteem and pride of those who do not receive a certificate.”
Many parents think these awards motivate students, and the prospect of failure prepares them for the cold hard world on the outside. Comments on the media reports I’ve read almost unanimously condemn this kind of movement in our schools, arguing that we are raising a generation of “losers” with ever plummeting academic standards (a claim which, by the way is not substantiated by the facts.)
I find it ironic that the ones arguing for these awards are often not involved in classroom activities and are not as highly educated as those who think they should be done away with. In my experience, observing some pretty high achieving grandchildren involved in some pretty high performance schools and sports teams, awards of this sort are not primarily motivators. They give an ego-boost – perhaps more to the parents than to the kids themselves.
For more on this story see Calgary school axes honour roll, saying it often hurts ‘self-esteem and pride’ of students who don’t make it.