Author Topic: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?  (Read 17049 times)

Karazenpo

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"Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« on: April 08, 2003, 09:25:29 AM »
Imho, this is a very important topic. This is how I handle it. I "flunk" students in my mind without actually telling them when looking to see who is ready for rank. What I do is if there is any doubt on my part I just hold them back until they're ready. The test I give is actually a test of spirit or heart to see how they respond under a stressful environment in the face of adversity.  It's an initiation into the next rank. It's not a test of their ability, how could it be? I already know that since I'm their instructor. If I post a test tonight to be given a week later shouldn't I know? I feel it is a psychological setback to fail a student especially in front of their peers but sometime you may have no choice. The student may just have a bad day where things are going wrong. Other students may not be made aware of this by keeping them facing a wall while the troubled student performs, perhaps with one of my assistants plus you have the solo work as in forms. This way they are oblivious to his/her total performance to avoid any controversy. Hang on, I'm leading up to something. Everyone appears to pass and receives their belt and certificate, however, the certificate is retrieved and kept in my office unitl the student redeems himself  by making up that segment of the promotion that I handle (w/an assistant) privately. He then is given his/her certificate. Prior to that its like a blank diploma in high school and the wearing of the belt until the makeup is honorary. Everything is kept confidential. The students know this ahead of time so some of the added peer pressure is taken off them and they can better relax and perform.  Some I know send their students to their instructor for promotion and that instructor may not agree. I don't do this. In the past, on occassion, I've had my instructor at the time sit in on a promotion as a special guest but his confidence is placed in me to make the proper decision for promotions. Ofcourse, if at test time, the student is not giving 110 percent, seems lackidasical, does not follow orders or are a discipline problem-they are failed in front of everyone and if its discipline then more than likely dismissal from the school, maybe suspension, depends on the situation. That's how I handle it. What say you! :)

PS: This way your being very fair and understanding of the sudent without compromising the ranking system.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:04 PM by -1 »

Jon Pack

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Re: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2003, 10:50:22 AM »
Great discussion. I currently have a student though very gifted is just a discipline problem. I have done just about all I can think of to help him. When I give discipline exercises the other students think they are kind of fun, so there is this domino effect. Net result is now others act out to get to do them. I have gone on to praise those good days, discuss openly the problem and parents conferences. I have had some success in rewarding other students with their next section of their forms while leaving him out. But what ever seems to work one day is out he window the next and the behavior is still pretty constant. At this point I have disciplined, praised, threatened, used peer pressure, parent conference... well you can see gone to great lengths to help this student.
Heres the catch he needs the training the most. Also since the school is so new every student makes a big difference at the end of the month. They have been a very supportive family, two brothers taking lessons as well as two cousins and four friends.
Any ideas on course of action would be great.
Jon Pack
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Karazenpo

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Re: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2003, 11:18:07 AM »
That's a tough situation to be in, Jon and by all means exhaust every possibility to "straighten" this kid out but not at the expense of the other students. If they see you "compromising" at all for this student or if he is continuously distracting or causing a break down or interruption in your teaching methods, then everything will eventually break down. Word will get out, prospects watching a class will pick up on it. New students who join will look toward their seniors and if they see him acting out, well, as they say, monkey see, monkey do. You can only do so much for people but it sounds to me your efforts are going to interfere or already have with the training of the others. How did Mr. Spock say it?- "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few and in this case, the one".  Imho, the only thing left is a suspension and if that doesn't work than I would say its the highway. I'll tell you what though, I think I have patience but you're a better man then me because I would have given him the old strike three method and from what you tell me he's struck out a long time ago! Good luck and keep us abreast! :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Jon Pack

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Re: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2003, 07:45:17 PM »
As usual you are right on the money. I think I just needed to hear it from someone else.
Jon
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline Mell

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Re: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2003, 07:50:35 PM »
Failing students can be difficult.  

The first course of action would be to avoid allowing the student to test at all.  I know some schools that post lists of names of eligable students who may test.  If your name is not on the list, you may not test.  Of course you have to deal with the moms and dads of those students.  (Boy am I glad those decisions aren't mine to make!)  

I think the difficulty comes in when students do not perform on testing to the potential they have exhibited in class prior to the test.  (Shihan Joe is correct that you should already know, before the test, who is passing).  

Shihan's policy of holding the certificate privately may not be a bad idea.  I don't know.

We had a young man testing for green belt who had the skill and knowledge but did not perform up to his potential.  Sifu failed him in front of everyone.  He came back a stronger student, more committed and is now the second higest ranking student in the school.  So, maybe sometimes, for some students, it is OK to fail them.  

We have also had students who did not test well but were promoted and also showed a marked improvement afterwards.  Sometimes we just need to state publically that the promotion is based on the past year of their training, not just this day.  

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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Karazenpo

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Re: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2003, 09:00:19 PM »
That is true, Mell. I recall years ago at an associate's school a student was failed, just had a bad day but came back stronger than ever. It certainly does happen on occasion. Thanks for bringing that up because I had forgotten about that. :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline Nagi

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Re: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2003, 07:28:17 AM »
I have incorporated the practices of Shihan Joe Shuras
at my school (since im a student of Shihan Joe S.)
I also added a pre-test into my school 1 month before the test date this way the student has 1month to work/learn on any requirements and is free of charge and it gives me a good look at the student's before the test date  

 A couple of months ago I had to fail a 10 year old student going for brown he did fine in his pre-test but he completely fell apart during the test. If it was a lower rank I would of passed him but not at brown belt. I was not willing to sign my name on the certificate. He was spoken to about Ki-haping after the last strike 6 to 8 times. He forgot his punch tech's from orange belt and mixing half of one tech with another tech, he couldn't do 2 tech's for brown.

 I had some trouble with this student and his mom on more than one occasion ranging from, not putting him up for a test, trouble with other students, tattling on other students, lazziness (big time) and one time my nephew kicked this student 3 times in the leg and when I ask the boy why he did this my nephew said he whipped me across the face with his belt in the locker room.

Well it was the hardest thing I ever had to do to a student and explain why he failed while tears were flowing down his face. I ended up lossing him and his sister as student's his sister got her brown that day.
I also had trouble concering the sister, The mom liked to stir things up at the school and that's a whole other story. In a good way Im glad they are gone, no more trouble at the school.

Ron
      

 
  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:04 PM by -1 »
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Offline badsifu

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Re: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2003, 07:42:27 AM »
I am a firm believer in firing your bad students.  There is only so much you can do to help people.  Some people, not only suck away all of your energy for teaching, but they also suck away the other student's desire to attend.  It sounds like those kids and the mom leaving the school was more of a blessing.

As far as tests go, I don't let students test unless they are able to pass with flying colors.  I still have some that prove me wrong and show up hung over, forgetting evertything, or just an all over crappy performance.  They fail, feel bad, and do it again in 3 to 6 mos.  Tough love.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
Dan Tyrrell

Offline Nagi

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Re: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2003, 08:22:11 AM »
Quote
I am a firm believer in firing your bad students.  There is only so much you can do to help people.  Some people, not only suck away all of your energy for teaching, but they also suck away the other student's desire to attend.  It sounds like those kids and the mom leaving the school was more of a blessing.

As far as tests go, I don't let students test unless they are able to pass with flying colors.  I still have some that prove me wrong and show up hung over, forgetting evertything, or just an all over crappy performance.  They fail, feel bad, and do it again in 3 to 6 mos.  Tough love.

I've done that, not testing the student and then the mom came up to me and said my son's is right up ther with the other student's. So I sat down with her and expain my reasons for not putting him up. I wanted to light a fire under his butt and I was hoping this would of worked but it didn't and the mom was going to pull both kids out untill I told her how the belt doesn't make the student, but the student makes the belt and all the other philosophy of how Johnny down the street can be a Black belt in 2 years but little Richie is a way better blue belt at this school. I was in a no win situation if he didn't go up for his test I probably would of lost him anyways

Remember kids are different than adult's the adults can understand why they failed and what they have to work on and get better and come back with a vengeance. Kids want the next rank and don't understand why im tough on them and they get confussed as to why I do what I do. Believe me im tough on them too tough, I have parents always comment that Ron is way to tough on the kids but who is going to get them ready for the street's the parents? If one of my kid's(student) got in a fight and lost badly I would feel that it is some what my fault as instructor that ther were not prepared. Yes it was a blessing they left the school I don't have to tell the student deeper stance, bend the knee, hand on the belt etc...

Ron  
  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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Karazenpo

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Re: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2003, 08:39:21 AM »
Nagi & Badsifu, Absolutely! Bad students, not to mention "aggravating" parents, can suck the life out of an instructor and everyone (students & instructors) are most definitely better off when they're gone! :D  How about this........nothing aggravates me more than when a parent has the "audacity" when observing, get up off their chair and intervene into the class. Last night I disciplined a student for "horseplay" by doing pushups. The mother gets up, walks into the training area, stands by the child with this intense look. >:(  I immediately approach her and she starts complaining that she was watching and it was the other kid that started it and her son shouldn't be punished. I told her that they're was most probably a 'co-conspirator' involved when my back was turned but he's the one I caught. (not to mention, 9 out of 10 times it is her son that starts it, not a bad kid just hyper).  As she was about to say something, I said calmly but FIRMLY, "I will handle it!" So she turns around and walks out and waited in the car upset at me. :-/  My blood was boiling! >:(
 The problem with the set-up of this school is when you walk in, its an open area and if the parents wait they can't help but observe. I'm thinking of putting up a petition. My other school (Shihan Kathy's) is perfect, the waiting room is isolated.  It's  two rooms away from the main dojo. Our policy there is that a parent may observe as many classes as they like (within reason ofcourse) when they are trying to make their decision to commit. After enrolling, constant observation is a distraction. However, to check on your child's progess you may from time to time get permission from the instructor to observe.  This school is still run this way but I made compromises on other one do to the size constraints and layout of the studio. Thanks for letting me vent this! ;D   Shihan Joe :(
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline Nagi

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Re: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2003, 08:57:39 AM »
Shihan Joe,
I can't believe she did that on your time while your class
was still going on :o. She should of spoke to you after class about the situation. I can see how it is very easy for the parent to walk right into the traing area how your school is set up. I'd be steaming maybe she will stay in the car from now on? I would be making a small knee wall partition this weekend with a gate (and Razor wire) ;D or some kind of railing (Brass)

Ron
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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Sifu Rick Mattioli

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Re: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2003, 10:18:41 AM »
Hi Joe,
I am happy to see that with your age comes great widsom  ;D  (don't foregt- i'm still older than you!!)

 In my Kajukenpo Pai Lum Family and Kenpo Family (Shihan Joe & I are part of the original N.E. Karazenpo Tree), a student is constantly being evaluated, and is not allowed to test, officially,  unless the teachers feel he/she is ready.  

If a student flunks, so be it... it's not the end of the world.  

In your case Joe, it was obvious that the mother needs to learn respect!   The apple didn't fall far from that tree!
Apparently many parents do not know how, or do not want to discipline their children, and they expect the M/A teacher to do it... (i would bet that this student and mother have caused problems at other events/ activities).  It's called 'enabling' in the educational world.  These same parents do a lot of complaining at tournaments.

Maybe newsletter needs to be sent home, from time to time where such subjects as testing requirements, discipline, parental interference, and expectations are discussed.

I also referee youth and high school soccer games.  ZERO Tolerance is part of the youth level in some of the leagues, as far as the players, spectators and parents saying anything negative, or interferring with the officials.  Maybe we can adopt this approach in the Kwoons/Temples!

It also might be a good idea to hold a parents meeting from time to time, to educate them about the M/A.
(Of course the ones who need to hear what has to be said, may not show up).

Nagi, Badsifu, Jon Pack, Mell:  stick by your rules and requirements. Be nice, until it is time not to be nice!


In the Spirit of the Dragon
Sifu Rick
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline Nagi

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Re: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2003, 11:54:58 AM »
Sifu Rick
I like your idea about sending out news letters from time to time. I think im going to apdopt that idea, it's a good reminder to all parents.

Ron
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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Jon Pack

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Re: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2003, 12:23:12 PM »
I would like to think I have been a very effective teacher over the years. I usually am able to use stratagies, analogies, and discussions to help move things in a more positive direction.
I am well aware of the different types of personalities that are out there and how best to deal with each.
The expressive type is most common to have to be talked to. The driver or driven type can be so critical of others they have to be counseled on this from time to time(THEY WANT TO FEEL SUPERIOR). The amiable, well thats me, may need to be reminded from time to time that you have to crack the whip or add some emotional content, thanks Bruce!
The driver, that brings me to my next point. Something I know I need to take action on. In our adult class some of the students have got into the habbit of calling me and some of the other black belts that drop in now and then by there first names. Not on the main floor but before or after class. I think it all is related, a lack of proper respect for the position we hold and demonstration of a poor attitude.
It is classic passive aggressive behavior. The student in question here is so competitive that he wants to be seen as an authority( pretty much on any subject that might come up) even though he is a yellow belt. The type that always has to interject his opinion in class. He must think that reffering to us this way brings our levels closer together. I am not sure.
An interesting note to some of these behaviors in the school is that I have a 4'x6' sign that discusses the rules and expectations.
I would never have referred to my instructor by anything but sir or Mr./Master and his last name. He never insisted I do so I just did! Commanding respect and demanding respect are totally different.
Thank you for the forum! Just being able to express the challenges helps in working out what the best action could be.
Thank you again,
Jon Pack
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

adacas

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Re: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2003, 01:08:45 PM »
I have to say that I like the way you guys think.  :)  What I would like to see more in martial arts and in other atmospheres is less sheltering or babying as i call it.  The mentallity that many people have today is to do absolutely everything in your power and then some to prevent your child from failing anything.  I guess if your child is a failure that makes you a failure.  People do not allow their kids to fail.  Every parent believes that their child deserves the world and that is a fine thought but in the end it does no good for their child.  What I see a lot of are what I think to be weak characters.  Nobody knows how to take a joke, nobody knows how to accept defeat like a good sportsman, nobody knows how to sometimes walk away.  These are things that should be taught to children and I do see this getting taught in some martial arts schools but not all but that still leaves the parents to enforce this knowledge.  At martial arts tournements I see teams cheer on their fighters when they are winning but then when they are losing they begin to throw fits like toddlers.  I am a firm believer of the saying, "What doesn't Kill you will make you stronger."  I feel that the student who fails his/her first try at a black belt test and walks away with dignity knowing that they will do it again and pass is stronger and more complete than the student who has never failed in his/her life.  The student who knows what its like to fail is less likely to fall apart when times get tough.  Failing shouldn't be such a bad thing especially in this day and age of competition.  Schools should teach this and parents should reinforce it.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »