Thanks to Debs for sharing the article.
The BGUTI principle -- “Better Get Used To It”.
* Traditional grading has been shown to reduce quality of learning, interest in learning, and preference for challenging tasks. But the fact that students’ efforts will be reduced to a letter or number in the future is seen as sufficient justification for giving them grades in the present.
* The available research fails to find any benefit, either academic or attitudinal, to the practice of assigning homework to elementary school students. Yet even educators who know this is true often fall back on the justification that homework – time-consuming, anxiety-provoking, and pointless though it may be -- will help kids get used to doing homework when they’re older. One researcher comes close to saying that the more unpleasant (and even unnecessary) the assignment, the more valuable it is by virtue of teaching children to cope with things they don’t like.
* Setting children against one another in contests, so that one can’t succeed unless others fail, has demonstrably negative effects -- on psychological health, relationships, intrinsic motivation, and achievement – for winners and losers alike. No matter: Young children must be made to compete because – well, you get the idea.
I realize, of course, that many readers regard these practices as desirable in their own right. They may believe that competitive struggle brings out the best in children, that grading students is a constructive form of evaluation, that standardized tests accurately assess the most important aspects of learning, or that, after a full day in school, kids ought to take home more assignments regardless of whether the data show any advantage to doing so. My beef here isn’t with people who hold such beliefs. It’s with those who admit these practices may be damaging (my emphasis) but defend them on BGUTI grounds.
...the most important, though rarely articulated, assumption on which BGUTI rests – that, psychologically speaking, the best way to prepare kids for the bad things they’re going to encounter later is to do bad things to them now.
© Alfie Kohn
Full article here.