Let's stop separating primary school children according to their marks

Let's stop separating primary school children according to their marks
Published: 12 January 2018 (170 Views)
Yesterday, I was shocked to find out that there is a primary school which - in 2018 - used the previous year's marks to shuffle kids. The obvious result is that the ones with the highest results - those who are subsequently deemed to be the brightest or the cream of the crop - were all placed in one class. While that may feel good because who doesn't want to be recognised as smart, the imminent competition for top position may serve to have adverse effects on the kids' physical and emotional health. The children with the lowest marks were placed in the last class. The principal was heard saying that the last class was for dummies. The children who had been placed in that class heard him and they were torn; that only added salt to the injury because this separation only served to make them think they aren't smart enough. He is said to have detracted his irresponsible and insensitive statement the following day. What he doesn't know is that this detraction will not be enough to undo the damaging and demoralising impact of his words. The teacher and parents of the children must now work together to boost the students' bruised confidence lest it affects their overall attitude towards their schoolwork (or even life).

When I started primary school, I was placed in the fourth class - 1D. Up until I left primary school, I was always in the D class of our grade. To outsiders who didn't know, being in the D class probably meant that we were as bright as those in the preceding classes. Luckily, that was not the case. Those who registered early were placed in the first classes. If you ask me, that was the best criterion for our placement because marks had nothing to do with it. Why should marks have anything to do with it? We all learn at different paces and some kids have an easier time remembering things than their classmates. Their marks may only reflect that and nothing more. I know schools may want to place those who understand things at the same pace in one class because it becomes easier for the teacher to navigate her classes without necessarily worrying if her pace is too slow for the fast-learners or too fast for the slow learners. However well-intended this form of separation may be, that reasoning may be lost in the mind of the child who is left feeling like they are not smart or good enough. And having our principals, teachers or parents reinforce that does not help the child at all.

The childhood phase is a very crucial part of our lives. What happen to us, what is said to us and how the adults around us treat us plays a pivotal role in informing how we learn to perceive ourselves, others and how we relate to the world around us. Belief systems are being set during that developmental stage. Trust me, I am speaking from experience and from what I have learned when I say all this. What we tell children or how we treat them becomes imprinted on their psyche. They come to believe the words used to describe them as being a part of their identity. We have so many broken adults with low self-esteem some of whom are now trying to unlearn all the toxic things they were taught to believe about self when they were young.

Some people were led to believe they were ugly. Some people were led to believe that theirs was a bleak future. Some people were led to believe that they are "dummies" simply because their good marks, in a stream with many other students who had higher marks which only resulted in them being placed in the bottom classes. That is damaging. I know some of us may have been taught to take those negative words that people say to us and use them as a source of inspiration. When the people involved are little children, surely, we place such a huge burden on them because it is tiring having to constantly prove something to naysayers. Each time the student fails, they will feel like those words said about them are true, after all. How about we mind what we tell them, in the first instance? How about we learn to break that cycle of that produces broken adults by teaching children harmful beliefs about themselves or those around them? Our words matter and they are powerful; they can cut and demotivate or they can build and inspire.


- Joyline Maenzanise

 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

Zimbabwean family still stranded at Bangkok airport

by Coconuts | 17 January 2018 | 116 Views

Mugabe's govt bought 'snow graders'

by Staff reporter | 17 January 2018 | 143 Views

'Rambai Makashinga' artiste was exploited

by Staff reporter | 17 January 2018 | 98 Views

Teen gets sister pregnant

by Simbarashe Sithole | 17 January 2018 | 198 Views

Fake cop nabbed while drinking beer in police uniform

by Simbarashe Sithole | 17 January 2018 | 119 Views

Suspect drowns trying to run from police, cops flee scene

by Simbarashe Sithole? | 17 January 2018 | 95 Views

Government acts on ZISCO revival

by Staff Reporter | 17 January 2018 | 66 Views

Zimbabwe army 'on high alert'

by Staff reporter | 17 January 2018 | 159 Views

Bitcoin dips below $10,000

by BBC | 17 January 2018 | 69 Views

Strange green fruit in the banana republic

by Zimbabwe Vigil Diary | 17 January 2018 | 74 Views

MDC Alliance to kick start campaigns for ailing Tsvangirai

by Stephen Jakes | 17 January 2018 | 67 Views

MDC-T holds its first national standing committee meeting in 2018

by Obert Chaurura Gutu | 17 January 2018 | 54 Views

ZAPU Bulawayo province resumes public meetings

by Mandla Khanye | 17 January 2018 | 30 Views

Ministers must work hard, says Mnangagwa

by Staff Reporter | 17 January 2018 | 59 Views

Yadah TV on DStv platform

by Staff reporter | 17 January 2018 | 46 Views

Hut inferno kills 3 minors

by Staff reporter | 17 January 2018 | 53 Views

Man loses tongue for love

by Staff reporter | 17 January 2018 | 59 Views

Ginimbi takes on Wicknell

by Staff reporter | 17 January 2018 | 58 Views

'Prophet and Prophetess Makandiwa have a case to answer,' says court

by Staff reporter | 17 January 2018 | 96 Views

Zimbabwe family still stranded at Bangkok airport

by Coconuts | 17 January 2018 | 228 Views

Zim judges call for better perks

by Staff reporter | 17 January 2018 | 88 Views

We should not fight during elections - Mnangagwa

by Stephen Jakes | 17 January 2018 | 138 Views

Zanu PF activist reminds villagers of the 2008 political violence

by Stephen Jakes | 17 January 2018 | 113 Views

Families stranded after removal from farm by riot police

by Stephen Jakes | 17 January 2018 | 117 Views

Soldiers target G40 nurse

by Stephen Jakes | 17 January 2018 | 139 Views

Education Minister Tours Kadoma Schools

by Stephen Jakes | 17 January 2018 | 73 Views

Mnangagwa perfects Mugabe agenda

by Stephen Jakes | 17 January 2018 | 86 Views

Mphoko, Mlala sucked into another scam

by Staff reporter | 17 January 2018 | 72 Views

'Mnangagwa can't win free, fair poll'

by Staff reporter | 17 January 2018 | 155 Views

Protests scuttle AirZim audit

by Staff reporter | 17 January 2018 | 75 Views

Victoria Falls Airport overwhelmed by visitors

by Staff reporter | 17 January 2018 | 83 Views

Fuel prices set to increase

by Staff reporter | 17 January 2018 | 74 Views

'Tsvangirai departure will spell doom'

by Staff reporter | 17 January 2018 | 91 Views