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#2005205 - 12/27/12 09:57 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: LoPresti]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5486
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
And this absolutely brilliant magic wand? The school simply lowered the passing grade from 65% to 55%! Everybody’s happy.

Oh, that won't solve any problem in California. You'll get maybe 1% of the kids happy by doing that. The whopping failure rate won't even feel a dent.
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#2005233 - 12/27/12 10:46 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: Minniemay]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
I have a big basket of stickers, but I so rarely use them. I have high expectations of my students, but because I lay them out in such a way that they can be successful, I can give them genuine positive reinforcement, and that is better than a sticker any day. They keep coming back to the piano because they can do what is asked, they feel successful and they can enjoy what they are doing -- get some kind of fulfillment. The real prize is the music. They get to make music.


Superb.

If rewards were to be given out by me in a hypothetical teaching environment, they would conform to a study I read recently (http://artiden.com/motivation/#more-4640) that said what you all likely subconsciously (or consciously) already know - if you give somebody rewards (bribery) in an environment like the piano study, then they'll come to be playing for the extrinsic rewards instead of the real reward, as keystring mentioned. However, if you reward students randomly whilst practicing proper, the motivation is not only increased, but can be kept intrinsic. The wonderful psychology of teaching!

tldr; Surprise rewards motivate people more than anything. And expected rewards unmotivate people.

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#2005255 - 12/28/12 12:20 AM What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: TimR]
LoPresti Offline
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Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: TimR
You implied that the only reward that should be used is the intrinsic reward of individually making music, and that use of what some would call bribery to shape behavior is a bad thing. . . . .
However, many of us feel that there is value in sitting through piano lessons, just as there is for math and chemistry, even if forced, even if bribed.

Tim,
All I have to work with is my personal experiences, plus what I see and hear around me. When I was a kid, and I played well, the feeling from that was my reward. When I played not-so-well, that was a big motivator to me. I “hung out” with other musicians, who recognized good playing when they heard it, so that may have been a secondary reinforcement for me.

I have never had youngsters as students, and plead complete ignorance in how to keep the young ones interested and motivated.

Both my children “took piano” for a number of years each. While neither of them still plays, neither one regrets having spent those years “sitting through” lessons. They do not look back on them as a waste of time, or as something they were forced to do. Equally, neither of my kids would say that they received any lasting benefit from those lessons. (Granted, that is a difficult thing to measure.) Each did the lessons for a period of time that felt appropriate for her/him, and then stopped them when the appropriateness disappeared (and much to my disappointment at the time). I can also say with certainty that no amount of stickers or lollypops would have kept my kids sitting through lessons beyond the time when each was done.

Today I have grandchildren. They are congratulated heartily – sometimes profusely! - for doing everyday things that I just take for granted. They are told they are “special” in ways that they are not; told they are very talented in areas where they actually demonstrate very little talent. They are told they are “winners” when they lose the softball game. They are bribed, and cajoled, and rewarded. It seems to me that those around them are keen to promote a false sense of accomplishment. Maybe if enough people say it, the kids will begin to believe it. And once the kids believe it, then they will “act as if . . .”

In spite of it all, these grandchildren actually do excel in areas where they are interested, and at those times WHEN they are interested. Once the interest, the INTERNAL motivation, tapers off, so does the excellent performance.
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#2005277 - 12/28/12 01:27 AM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
Nannerl Mozart Offline
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Registered: 07/19/08
Posts: 732
Loc: Australia, Melbourne
landorrano I'm with currawong, I've seen many women breastfeed in public in Australia and nobody generally has a problem with it. I guess Australians are close to the English in terms of culture and physical contact. I tend to think that as music teachers there is a degree of personal contact involved in teaching (correcting posture, touching hands, etc) but it's the same sort of physical contact a doctor gives to a patient. And yes, I know Argentina is part of the western world, I don't know how to put it, but I meant teachers in Australia, the US, Canada and the UK - English speaking countries I guess ...

What I find interesting about this thread is it first carried comments about a teacher's personal merit system and also the idea that rewards in the short term are effective ways to reinforce learning.

Minniemay then chimes in with a comment about how the most effective merit system is non-materialistic, students are rewarded with music, with the satisfaction that they can make music. KS backs this up asking why not any merit system, and then a lot of people seem to agree, in an ideal world we don't reward students with stickers, hugs, lollies, whatever you name it - students should love making music.

KS also stated that instilling 'carrots' removes drive and motivation. I agree with this to a degree, I remember having a conversation with an ex-scout, turns out she quit because by the time she hit her teen years she realised that badges meant nothing, they were of no monetary value, the charity work she did for the elderly earned badges... and it was too much work according to her...

Having said that, I think with rewards, you have to remember they are tangible. It might take a little while until a piece really sounds right, in the mean time giving students feedback whether it is in the form of a sticker, hug or praise can be helpful - it shows them that they are on the right track.
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#2005467 - 12/28/12 11:28 AM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: LoPresti]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11688
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: LoPresti

In spite of it all, these grandchildren actually do excel in areas where they are interested, and at those times WHEN they are interested. Once the interest, the INTERNAL motivation, tapers off, so does the excellent performance.

I wouldn't want it to stay at that either. I guess everything in life is a balance. The thing I would not want is where someone only follows his inner muse or impulses. There is also choosing involved, and some of that choosing involves things that you may not like to do and that you do not find interesting. I wonder if I can explain this better.

A child might not like spelling, practicing reading, or arithmetic very much. They may not be "interesting". But he also knows that if he wants to be independent like adults, he has to learn to do these things. So he chooses to do them for that reason. This is also motivation. He learns to read so that he can do it later so that he can be independent. He does not practice reading so that he can get a big number or A beside his name, or a pat on the head. I have deliberately used two different words: "learn to read" and "practice reading".

When it goes with following your inner impulse, something dangerous can happen and we see it in music. People begin when they are feeling "inspired". Then they hit a dry patch where the interest isn't there anymore. They think that it's the inspiration that carried them and made them learn, so they are devastated when the magic is gone. At this point you go to the "choosing" kind of "motivation". You keep practicing (or studying) even when you feel nothing and you think nothing is happening. A bit later that dry spell of practising has accumulated to new skills, and that realization brings in still another kind of motivation. Now you know that what was hard becomes easy, and this is sweet!

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#2005513 - 12/28/12 12:21 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: keystring]
LoPresti Offline
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Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
. . . Once the interest, the INTERNAL motivation, tapers off, so does the excellent performance.

I wouldn't want it to stay at that either. I guess everything in life is a balance. The thing I would not want is where someone only follows his inner muse or impulses. There is also choosing involved, and some of that choosing involves things that you may not like to do and that you do not find interesting. I wonder if I can explain this better.

KeyString,
You do not have to explain it to me - I already understand it. But I would like you to explain it to my grandchildren. God knows, I have tried.
Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#2005518 - 12/28/12 12:27 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
MaggieGirl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 483
"Once the interest, the INTERNAL motivation, tapers off, so does the excellent performance."

I look at it differently. When you can do something well, the internal part is fed consistently. It's easy to keep it fed as long as the supply is steady. It's when the meals become farther and fewer that people usually look for something else to feel that feeling. So anyone taking lessons flies through the first book. Eventually though at the 2nd or third book is stops being "easy". The internal reward system goes into shock.

The grind - the "keep working through it" mode has to be taught to most people.

That is why in any undertaking the praise should be on the effort, not the results.

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#2005602 - 12/28/12 02:17 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: MaggieGirl]
TimR Offline
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Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3200
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: MaggieGirl
"Once the interest, the INTERNAL motivation,

That is why in any undertaking the praise should be on the effort, not the results.


I think so, too.

There was a study we talked about here where they paid kids for school. IIRC, the kids who earned money for As or test scores did no better than the control, but the kids who were paid per book read (for the effort, not the result) did considerably better.

Praise should be honest and specific, else it is ineffective and even resented. I've worked for a couple of bosses recently who gave very general praise "you're hard working and competent and doing great" that could have been read off a hallmark card without meeting us. But his complaints were detailed and specific "that's the third time that report was late and twice you've used the wrong format." One approach is perceived as more genuine than the other!
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#2005611 - 12/28/12 02:38 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
keystring Online   content
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11688
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I am always more interested in first-hand long term experience with students, and am leery of studies and experiments. For example, the results of students being paid per read book being "better" --- what kinds of results meaning what? These things are based on statistics, charts being filled in.

I worked in the school system, and I worked with students one-on-one afterward, and I also applied principles based on that in homeschooling. I did not like what I saw with my grade two's when I first taught some decades ago, and I did not like what I had to undo in the schooled children I helped. I also watched in frustration as a very bright, very motivated young man was DE-motivated and close to despair because of the 'motivating' things that were being implemented in his school.

If anyone advocates this or that approach, I'd be interested in knowing whether they have applied / are applying it in teaching, or if they have just read about it.

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#2005612 - 12/28/12 02:38 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: TimR]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: MaggieGirl
That is why in any undertaking the praise should be on the effort, not the results.

Originally Posted By: TimR
I think so, too.

There was a study we talked about here where they paid kids for school. IIRC, the kids who earned money for As or test scores did no better than the control, but the kids who were paid per book read (for the effort, not the result) did considerably better.

So, they ARE winners when they lose the softball game! And all along I thought it was the other way around . . .

The cynical part of me asks, "Were the number of books read self-reported, or did someone actually verify that the work of reading was done?"

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#2005616 - 12/28/12 02:48 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: LoPresti]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11688
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: LoPresti

The cynical part of me asks, "Were the number of books read self-reported, or did someone actually verify that the work of reading was done?"

It doesn't matter, because reading is not about numbers but content, thinking, and interest. In fact, if a student or child of mine won by reading more books than anyone else I would consider that to be failure.

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#2005619 - 12/28/12 02:53 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: keystring]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Upon reflection, I would like to read books for money. Could someone (anyone!) put me in contact with the treasurer manager of such a study?

I contacted the New York Times Book Review division several years ago, asking for the same information, and hoping to secure the same type of arrangement. I have not heard back from them yet . . .


Edited by LoPresti (12/28/12 03:44 PM)
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#2005642 - 12/28/12 03:24 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2468
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Nannerl Mozart
landorrano I'm with currawong, I've seen many women breastfeed in public in Australia and nobody generally has a problem with it.


All the better!

About the "western world", I understand what you mean now. As an aside, though, I can say that in France the idea of motivating students with stickers and the like is close to, if not completely, unknown. I do know one piano teacher, however, who gives her students a hard candy after lessons; I have never interpreted that as a reward but simply as an expression of her affection for kids, a kind of a way to say to them "I know who you are, Kiddo", a kind of a wink of the eye that escapes the parents' radar.

In France, if there were a discussion among teachers as to whether one ought to give from time to time a little hug or say something nice to a student, the subject of the discussion wouldn't be about how to motivate students. The subject would be about a teacher who has difficulty in his relations with kids ands who needs help in this respect.

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#2005645 - 12/28/12 03:29 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2468
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Nannerl Mozart
I remember having a conversation with an ex-scout, turns out she quit because by the time she hit her teen years she realised that badges meant nothing, they were of no monetary value, the charity work she did for the elderly earned badges... and it was too much work according to her...



OK. But that is normal, isn't it? I mean, kids grow up, things that seem meaningful suddenly seem stupid, bogus ... but that doesn't change that they truly seemed meaningful and that beyond that they truly were meaningful.

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#2005649 - 12/28/12 03:48 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: LoPresti]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2468
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: LoPresti

I contacted the New York Times Book Review division several years ago, asking for the same information, and hoping to secure the same type of arrangement. I have not heard back from them yet . . .


Hang in there P-Lo, maybe in 2013!


Edited by landorrano (12/28/12 04:06 PM)
Edit Reason: external motivation moved me to correct my spelling!

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#2005754 - 12/28/12 07:53 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: keystring]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: LoPresti

The cynical part of me asks, "Were the number of books read self-reported, or did someone actually verify that the work of reading was done?"

It doesn't matter, because reading is not about numbers but content, thinking, and interest. In fact, if a student or child of mine won by reading more books than anyone else I would consider that to be failure.

You would consider it a failure for a child to read a lot? I don't understand.
_________________________
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#2005769 - 12/28/12 08:23 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: PianoStudent88]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11688
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88

You would consider it a failure for a child to read a lot? I don't understand.

No. Let me try to explain. If you are competing or trying to earn points in one of these schemes, then the more books you go through, the better. If you go through simple short books with easy vocabulary and the typical predictable plot - good guy wins, bad guy gets defeated - then you can chock up lots of books. A thicker book with heavier vocabulary and more complex structure takes longer. If you are reading something thought provoking that makes you ponder then it takes even longer to go through that book. Supposing that you read something that makes you want to research things, write down your own ideas, or discuss ideas? You'll only be able to read a few books, or maybe even one.

When I ponder these various scenarios, I would prefer the latter for any student or child of mine. But it is the former that will get rewarded by a tally of number of books "read". Something deeper is lost. What does "reading" mean? Is it just glossing over meaning and devouring as many words as possible? That's why I used "go through" instead of "read" for the first scenarios.

You may want to think of your music studies. You probably want depth and substance. If we want kids to read, are we giving them things that are meaningful? Are we compensating for poor material and poor teaching approaches in mass education be rewarding something simplistic like zipping through books? I'd like a child to really read.

Addendum:
This also goes toward motivation. Reading should be for the purpose of being entertained, learning things, exploring ideas. This is also a personal dialog between you and the book. It is your activity and it is meaningful. If it becomes something where you please others by doing it, where the quality of your activity or the quality of the books you are reading don't matter, that is an empty affair.


Edited by keystring (12/28/12 08:44 PM)

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#2005787 - 12/28/12 09:21 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
malkin Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2553
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
You might be interested in this book:
Punished by Rewards
Alfie Kohn

http://www.alfiekohn.org/books/pbr.htm
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A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2005794 - 12/28/12 09:43 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: malkin]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11688
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: malkin
You might be interested in this book:
Punished by Rewards
Alfie Kohn

http://www.alfiekohn.org/books/pbr.htm

It looks interesting. smile

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#2005797 - 12/28/12 09:51 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
keystring, thank you for explaining. I don't think of "most books read" as necessarily being synonymous with "only short, simple books read.". But I haven't seen these programs in operation to know how they usually turn out.

For the parallel with music studies, I'm not so sure that the comparison so obviously shows that trying to encourage children to read a lot of books by counting them is wrong. Elissa Milne has recently written, approvingly, on her blog about a challenge for piano students to learn forty pieces in a year.

Perhaps counting is a second-best measure, but I don't think it's necessarily bad.
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#2005807 - 12/28/12 10:39 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
Nannerl Mozart Offline
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Registered: 07/19/08
Posts: 732
Loc: Australia, Melbourne
KS, have you ever heard that quantity means quality? There is a challenge going around teachers, they intend to implement the Hal Leonard forty pieces in a year and quite a few teachers agree that this is not a bad idea. Depth and substance doesn't always have to come in big lengthy pieces, you can still learn a lot from reading lots of two page pieces.
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#2005825 - 12/28/12 11:56 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Nannerl Mozart
KS, have you ever heard that quantity means quality? There is a challenge going around teachers, they intend to implement the Hal Leonard forty pieces in a year and quite a few teachers agree that this is not a bad idea. Depth and substance doesn't always have to come in big lengthy pieces, you can still learn a lot from reading lots of two page pieces.

"Depth and substance", it seems to me, would come from WHAT is being (learned or read or played); and from HOW WELL it is being (learned or read or played).

KeyString can write for herself, obviously, but her complaint about the "contest format" is that it may reward skimming the pages of many books, as opposed to reading for getting the most out of a book or two.

Is there intrinsic value in "reading" a large volume of works in a compressed time? Exposure: One can practice speed-reading with books, and can work on sight-reading with music. Beyond that, QUALITY that you mention suffers, naturally.

Do you know if the teachers who are subscribing to this Hal Leonard One-Piece-per-Week program are implementing it to solve (a) specific problem(s) with certain of their students?

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#2005828 - 12/29/12 12:09 AM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11688
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Nannerl Mozart
KS, have you ever heard that quantity means quality?

No, I haven't. smile
Originally Posted By: Nannerl Mozart

There is a challenge going around teachers, they intend to implement the Hal Leonard forty pieces in a year and quite a few teachers agree that this is not a bad idea.

The fact that a group of people have decided something like this is not a bad idea does not tell me much. I am actually aware of this venture. The teaching ideas behind it are that students need to be exposed to a variety of music in order to build up their experience. It is also to counter an alarming tendency to only teach 3 or 4 pieces a year for the purpose of getting high grades in exams. 40 pieces a year is less than one piece a week, or if there are 2 small pieces assigned at a time, each piece has two weeks preparation time. It also depends on what is done with the pieces, and what is being taught.
Originally Posted By: Nannerl Mozart

Depth and substance doesn't always have to come in big lengthy pieces, you can still learn a lot from reading lots of two page pieces.

The size of a piece (or book) was never an issue. The consideration is what we put into things and thus what we get out of them.

An additional thought is that if the teachers decide to teach 40 pieces in a year, that is not the goal they are presenting to the students. The goal the student aims for is to play the piece well, learn the particular thing about it that the teacher introduces, and similar things. The goals you set for yourself in your learning activity will influence outcome. If you are in a race to read as many books as possible, chances are that you will not pay as much attention to the content, or learn from them the same way if something can be learned.

Originally Posted By: Pianostudent88

Elissa Milne has recently written, approvingly, on her blog about a challenge for piano students to learn forty pieces in a year.

I haven't read that blog entry but heard about it. You could call me a fan of Elissa Milne and I have a great deal of respect for her. I know that she is also about exploration, depth, enjoyment. Even her small pieces have a lot of thought behind them, and their simplicity belies the substance they hold. 40 pieces a year of explored pieces sounds good to me.


Edited by keystring (12/29/12 12:15 AM)

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#2005886 - 12/29/12 04:59 AM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2468
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: keystring
In fact, if a student or child of mine won by reading more books than anyone else I would consider that to be failure.


Would you really? That sounds terribly hard, to me.

Encouraging kids to read a lot sounds good to me. Regardless of whether they read short books or long ones, good ones or bad ones, whether they read closely or just chew 'em up and spit 'em out. Even comic books. Doesn't matter, reading is great, let's hope kids get the taste for it young and we'll see where it takes them. Anything that helps a kid along on this way has merit, in my opinion.

I'd be willing to bet, furthermore, that a teacher who has the silly idea of a "read the most books during winter vacation" contest is a great, great teacher, and that he knows how to handle the thing with a great deal of humour.

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#2005889 - 12/29/12 05:09 AM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: landorrano]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5486
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Encouraging kids to read a lot sounds good to me. Regardless of whether they read short books or long ones, good ones or bad ones, whether they read closely or just chew 'em up and spit 'em out. Even comic books. Doesn't matter, reading is great, let's hope kids get the taste for it young and we'll see where it takes them. Anything that helps a kid along on this way has merit, in my opinion.

Of course, you as the parent need to monitor the materials being read, just to make sure they are age- and content-appropriate. And make sure that there's a balance in genres (i.e., don't let the kid read 40 mystery novels and nothing on science, math, and mythology).
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#2005891 - 12/29/12 05:14 AM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5486
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Nannerl Mozart
KS, have you ever heard that quantity means quality?

I've heard that phrase in context of teaching kids to read books, up to around age 13. Before age 14, experts do advise teachers to encourage kids to read as many books as possible without regards to comprehension or "quality." I actually saw a chart in which the experts say how many millions of words each kid is supposed to read annually, and they chart the numbers by age. I don't remember the exact numbers, but the sheer number of words is staggering, like 2 million words a year for a 12 year old.

Unfortunately, such studies don't take into account the student's home culture. What are the chances that the kids will read books if their parents don't read, or can't read?
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#2005906 - 12/29/12 07:07 AM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: AZNpiano]
Nannerl Mozart Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/08
Posts: 732
Loc: Australia, Melbourne
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Nannerl Mozart
KS, have you ever heard that quantity means quality?

I've heard that phrase in context of teaching kids to read books, up to around age 13. Before age 14, experts do advise teachers to encourage kids to read as many books as possible without regards to comprehension or "quality." I actually saw a chart in which the experts say how many millions of words each kid is supposed to read annually, and they chart the numbers by age. I don't remember the exact numbers, but the sheer number of words is staggering, like 2 million words a year for a 12 year old.

Unfortunately, such studies don't take into account the student's home culture. What are the chances that the kids will read books if their parents don't read, or can't read?


I do wonder about that myself as well. The thing is, my parents never read to me... I loved stories are a six year old and then when I was seven I started to read a lot on my own. My brother never had an interest in reading so my parents tried reading to him.

I sometimes wonder with books, this is going totally over the OP but as adults, we might be depriving ourselves of pictures. I started to read children's picture books last year just because I was involved in a kids music concert project and after a few books, I actually felt overwhelmed by all the pictures. The pictures felt like they were overstimulating. It makes you think...

Anyway, as far as music goes, I've heard the same idea expressed - reading/listening and learning several pieces that are in the same style, or by the same composer normally brings more quality to the piece being learned.

Anyway, I've noticed this thread kind of went into a tangent... I couldn't help but wonder when students are rewarded - when a piece is done and polished and the student 'passes/moves on' or during the learning process - if the student shows that s/he practiced and worked adequately. Everybody here seems to agree that material rewards and merit schemes ideally shouldn't happen in a studio.


Edited by Nannerl Mozart (12/29/12 07:14 AM)
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#2005932 - 12/29/12 09:03 AM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: AZNpiano]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11688
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

I've heard that phrase in context of teaching kids to read books, up to around age 13. Before age 14, experts do advise teachers to encourage kids to read as many books as possible without regards to comprehension or "quality." I actually saw a chart in which the experts say how many millions of words each kid is supposed to read annually, and they chart the numbers by age. I don't remember the exact numbers, but the sheer number of words is staggering, like 2 million words a year for a 12 year old.

Unfortunately, such studies don't take into account the student's home culture. What are the chances that the kids will read books if their parents don't read, or can't read?

I want to stop at: "experts" advising teachers, which then follows with the studies that these "experts" base themselves on. Good grief, AZN, you are a teacher yourself!

As a primary teachers we got training in teaching young children in these areas, in educational psychology (how different ages learn), etc. After that comes the observation of hundreds or thousands of children on a daily basis while working with them, their parents, and specialists who are brought in. Can this compare with someone involved in hypothesis sending out studies that result in some statistical results to a number of questions? This one phrase really struck me: "experts do advise teachers" --- The teacher IS the expert. I mean, a teacher is a trained professional in the specific field of teaching that age level.

When you teach grades (K) 1 - 3, you are setting up everything. Later when I tutored older kids, very often their difficulties in the higher grades stemmed from what they didn't learn in the first grades. When you teach reading, there are a lot of different things going into that, which as a teacher keeps in mind. At the same time you are teaching other subjects, and you are also teaching things such as thinking, planning, research, attitude. These will go into your reading. There is also the notion of "integration", meaning that the subjects flow into each other. As a simple example, if you learn about electricity or energy in science, you may have the invention of electricity in history, math. gets involved, and you are reading and writing about it - which gets you into spelling and vocabulary.

So as teachers teaching at the level where reading skills are being set up, we look at a larger picture. That's what I had in mind when I wrote my comment which in some quarters seem to have been taken literally.

I don't think that any trained teacher needs to be told by an "expert" that lots of reading is important. At the same time, that advice is much narrower than what teaching reading involves. These things look impressive to the general public which wants to be assured that something is being done, in terms that they can understand.

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#2005934 - 12/29/12 09:07 AM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11688
Loc: Canada
Anyhow, this was supposed to link back to music and having a bigger picture there, and somehow that's lost and I can't find my way back either.

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#2005958 - 12/29/12 10:22 AM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3200
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Nannerl Mozart
Everybody here seems to agree that material rewards and merit schemes ideally shouldn't happen in a studio.


What?
I for one strongly disagree.
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