Primary school cancels prizegiving because it discourages non-award winners

Silverdale Primary School has cancelled their end of year prizegiving, and have explained in a newsletter:

End of Year Prizegiving

There has been a lot of talk about the cancellation of the end of year prizegiving. Just to clarify some misconceptions about cancellation of the end of year prizegiving.

1. Sports teams will still be based on skill and a selection process.

2. There will still be placings at school events such as cross country, athletics, swimming, speech competitions. Some of these events have trophies and these will be handed out on the day or at the next assembly.

The end of year prizegiving was used to award children in each class:
– Most improved
– Commitment to Learning
– Classroom Citizen
– Excellence in Literacy and Mathematics

Out of a class of 20 to 30 children how does a teacher choose one child for each award? Don’t we want all our children to improve, have commitment to learning, show citizenship and to have excellence in literacy and mathematics

By rewarding a few we find that it discourages the others.

We are trying to get our children to succeed because they want to succeed and not because of a reward at the end which is subjective at best. The sporting awards are easy to give out, if you win the cross country race you get first, not subjective. Everyone can understand this.

Try explaining to a child that has tried hard all year with their learning that they didn’t get the Commitment to Learning award because someone else was trying harder, this is subjective. How do you judge who tries harder??

We will continue to hand out Principal Awards and Team awards throughout the year, these certificates are based on our values and recognise what children have done.

I hope this goes some way to answer your concern.

From Newsletter 35 (PDF)

Original source: Silverdale [Primary] School cancels end of year prizegiving because it discourages those that do not win awards

Keep in mind that this is at a primary school where they don’t have exams.

There seems to be a bit of contradiction in not giving out ‘subjective’ end of awards but continuing to give out Principal Awards during the year, which must also be subjective. From my experience with Principal Awards (given to grandchildren, they didn’t do them in my day and we called the boss a headmaster) they are rotating awards that include all pupils over time, and often are for very subjective and grand sounding attributes.

Player of the day awards to sports teams are also often rotated.

There are different ways to see this. I understand the need to encourage every child to learn, and never winning an award may well be discouraging. We didn’t get learning awards at primary school in my day and we seemed to survive without them.

But there can also be benefits for awarding those who strive, and who do very well.

Perhaps the Government could follow the lead of Silverdale Primary and cancel the Queen’s Birthday and New Year gong handouts. I have been very discouraged by not winning one (that’s sarcasm – while some community awards and recognition of services may have merit I oppose knighthood and damehood sort of awards).


Media pat themselves on the back

I guess there’s no other way of heaping praise on the media other than via the media, but self praise seems more like self promotion rather than earned plaudits.

There have been two media ward shows this week, and Twitter has been buzzing with self congratulations. As usually the awards have been spread across the few major media players in New Zealand.

Last night:

Is the NZH website really the best? perhaps it’s the best of a mediocre lot, smattered with click bait trivia (much of it sourced intternationally) attempts at attention grabbing advertising that deter more than attract – often when I get annoyed too much I dump the site and look somewhere else.

NZH may be one of the less worse sites. I really don’t like 1 News much at all. Newshub is hardly better, and has a very annoying trait – if you click to a news item and don’t read it straight away (as I commonly don’t) it jumps to other news items, so by the time I get to it the story is something random and not what I want. So I close it and go somewhere else.

Back to NZH, who pat themselves on the back – Editorial: New Zealand media earns pat on the back

It has been a big two days for the New Zealand media industry. Last night winners of the Voyager Media Awards were announced, and on Thursday the NZ Radio Awards were presented. The award categories reflected the scope of modern media and showed how the industry has adapted to commercial pressures and cultural demands.

Many categories, many awards, many happy people in media. No doubt deserved, but of little interest to the general public.

There was recognition for the bedrock tasks of journalism — reporting, feature writing, photography, subbing, editing and publishing. But there were awards, too, for websites and apps, campaigns and projects, videography and digital storytelling. What the finalists all shared was a commitment to the essential role of providing credible and trustworthy news, analysis and imagery.

Obviously awards will highlight the best, but that ignores the mediocre and the bad, and there is a lot of both of those categories.

The past two decades have not been comfortable for the industry. Its fortunes have been hit by digital disruption and the collapse of traditional advertising.

The discomfort remains, and media have struggled to deal with it successfully.

The New Zealand media remains a reliable and dependable source of news.

To an extent, yes. They are more reliable and dependable than the alternative, nothing, but it is very debatable how much standards have deteriorated – because to an extent they have.

The awards bestowed this week confirm that the fourth estate in New Zealand is doing the job demanded of it.

They wish.

Shareholders are likely to demand quite a bit more, and in trying to achieve that it is highly questionable that the media are doing what the public demand.

Actually the public don’t demand, they expect (and often not much), and they browse to find what they want. That’s something our media have not learnt to deal with.

Hang on, I just notices this:

So both the Herald and stuff won slightly different website prizes. Something for everyone.


Political awards

I’m not going to dish out political award – like that vast majority of New Zealanders I have no idea how our MP’s actually work beneath the vanity veneer of PR and the fog of media wars.

Journalists have been somewhat distracted this month with actual political news to deal with but some have managed to review the year.

Tracy Watkins and Vernon Small: Didn’t see that coming: A year of political bombshells

It was the year no-one saw coming. A year when everything we thought we knew about politics was tipped on its head. Brexit. Donald Trump.

No one sees what’s coming, but Brexit and Trump certainly went against most predictions.

Brexit means major changes for the UK and for Europe.

Trump looks like meaning major changes for the US and potentially for the world.

John Key quitting. So much for a quiet year between elections.  There wasn’t a Beehive staffer or Press Gallery journo who wasn’t wilting in the final week before Christmas.

While Key’s resignation excited the local pundits in what is usually a wind down period it is not anywhere near being in the same league.

So far the only changes are a few tweaks to Government under a Prime Minister who was already a major influence, and a few tweaks to ministerial responsibilities that most people won’t notice.

It perhaps opens up next year’s election a bit, but despite Labour’s glee it may not end up making much difference in what was already regarded as an uncertain election. Everyone is still predicting Winston will be ‘king maker’ – and even that’s no change from the last couple of elections.

Watkins and Small name Key as Politician of the Year – for resigning?

Apart from that it was a fairly uneventful and unremarkable year for Key. Most notable was his lack of success in changing the flag and despite getting the TPP over the line it now looks to be dead in the US  water. I wouldn’t say that Key had an award winning year.

They dish out a number of corny awards, but there is one that looks to be a deserved mention:

Backbencher of the year. National MP Mark Mitchell. He chaired the Foreign Affairs and Trade select committee through the divisive Trans Pacific Partnership legislation and helped turned hearings from being fractious to respectful, and even good-natured. On top of that he seems to have earned a reputation as an all-round nice guy, even from his political opponents, and got his reward with a ministerial promotion.

Most of the public probably haven’t heard of Mark Mitchell let alone are aware of his quiet achievements in Parliament.

There are 121 MPs in Parliament most of whom (if not all) are working hard and doing their best. Voters get to see little of this – all we usually see is a few attention seekers granted coverage by media who tend to accentuate the absurd and exaggerate a few issues and events.

If I was to do any award it would be not singling out a single person, it would be for the quiet achievers in Parliament who make a difference without being noticed by most of the people most of the time.

These MPs are the unsung backbone of our democracy.

Awards and choking on a Minto

There’s been a lot of frothing over the New Year honours.

‘Natwatch’ at The Standard: Sir Lynton Crosby and Dame Paula Rebstock

The British Conservative Government and the New Zealand National Government have both rewarded their friends with titles.

Martyn Bradbury at The Daily Blog: Honours List is dishonourable – TDB Honours list 2015

We need a ‘People’s Honours’ list for those who have challenged the state – not those who have acted for the State.

And John Minto at The Daily Blog: What’s that? – choke, splutter! – Dame Paula Rebstock???

If you choked on your muesli at the news Paula Rebstock has been made a Dame in the government’s New Year’s Honours list then join the club.

Rebstock’s award is confirmation of the highly political nature of our national honours system.

In giving an award to Rebstock John Key is giving the finger to us all.

A look through the main awards shows a vastly disproportionate list of addresses from Remuera and Parnell and other well-to-do suburbs. National is hard at work rewarding its biggest supporters.

It’s curious that there have been no comments on Minto’s post and only two on Bradbury’s.

It may be true that the main party in power tends to favour people on it’s side of the political spectrum with honours.

But what we don’t know is who turns down honours offered to them, we only get to find out about people who are offered honours and accept them.

It may be that people from “from Remuera and Parnell” put more value on status symbols like flash properties and titles so are more likely to be offered them and accept them.

Bradbury lists his own ‘TDB Honours list 2015’ which includes:

  • Helen Kelly for services to humanity, cannabis reform, worker rights and being an incredible human being.

I think it would be fair enough for Helen Kelly to get some sort of honours recognition. I don’t know if she was offered anything or not but it wouldn’t surprise to me if she had greater priorities at the moment.

And I wonder if Bradbury, Minto, and others complaining about those who they think were deserving of honours missing out, nominated anyone. That’s how people get to be considered for honours.

Here’s how it works: NOMINATIONS FOR HONOURS

Nominations may be made by any person or persons by completing a nomination form.  Nomination forms and information on the honours system are available from the Honours Unit, Members of Parliament and Electorate Offices.