School As T-Ball

I worry that school is becoming like T-Ball.

T-Ball is a sport based on baseball and is intended as an introduction for young players to develop baseball skills and have fun.

In T-Ball, there is usually no pitcher. The ball is placed on an adjustable tee atop the home plate at a suitable height for the batter to strike. The game is played on a smaller field. Usually, they don't keep score. An inning is completed not when there are three outs, but once each child has had a turn at bat. All extra players of the defensive team play in the outfield every inning. No extra bases on overthrows and runners may not advance after the ball is in possession of an infielder.

Everyone is a winner - or no one wins, depending on your point of view.

We might call this approach in education "scaffolding" - that instructional technique whereby the teacher models the desired learning strategy or task, then gradually shifts responsibility to the students.Except I'm not sure if we are taking away the tee or actually shifting the responsibility.

I was thinking about this last night as I sorted through articles and clippings that I have collected the past year to use for blog posts. The article that caught my attention was from the The New York Times and titled "Student Expectations Seen as Causing Grade Disputes."

Talking with professor at UMD, the reporter finds that Professor Grossman has come to expect complaints whenever he returns graded papers in his English classes. “Many students come in with the conviction that they’ve worked hard and deserve a higher mark,” Professor Grossman said. “Some assert that they have never gotten a grade as low as this before.”

He attributes those complaints to his students’ sense of entitlement. “I tell my classes that if they just do what they are supposed to do and meet the standard requirements, that they will earn a C,” he said. “That is the default grade. They see the default grade as an A.”That is something I hear from teachers at all levels K-20.

The article also references a study at the University of California, Irvine, that found that a third of students surveyed said that they expected B’s just for attending lectures, and 40 percent said they deserved a B for completing the required reading.

Though the researchers say this sense of entitlement might come from increased parental pressure, competition among peers and family members or a heightened sense of achievement anxiety, I think students just don't want us to take away the tee when they get up to bat.


Trackback specific URI for this entry


Display comments as Linear | Threaded

No comments

Add Comment

Enclosing asterisks marks text as bold (*word*), underscore are made via _word_.
Standard emoticons like :-) and ;-) are converted to images.
BBCode format allowed
E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.
To leave a comment you must approve it via e-mail, which will be sent to your address after submission.

To prevent automated Bots from commentspamming, please enter the string you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.