I have some parents who don’t like that “D” behavior is better behavior than “A” when it comes to talking about discipline. My students get letter grades for conduct and a few parents have a difficult time with D being good in the classroom but not on the report card. Can you help me with this?
DR. MARSHALL’S RESPONSE:
This is a common question and a natural assumption, yet the assumption that students get confused is very often not an accurate one. The proof would be to ask the students.
Much of our language–and much of what we do in life–depends on context. Here are some examples:
• When do we use “to” or “too” or “two”? It depends entirely upon the context of the sentence.
• What is the pronunciation of the word, “read”? Is it /red/ or /reed/? It depends upon the context. Is the sentence intending to convey past or present tense?
• Should you wear blue jeans today? The answer lies in where you are planning to go–wearing blue jeans to a wedding or a job interview may not be appropriate, but if you are going for a hike in the woods, blue jeans would be a suitable choice.
Young people are very perceptive and can pick up the differences in context very easily. They can understand that the same letters (ABCD) can be used in two different contexts and so naturally have different meanings.
If you believe an explanation would help, then just explain and/or put the topic on the table to discuss. Using words appropriate to your grade level, point out that letter grades, having to do with assessment, are completely separate and different from the four levels of social development, which are part of this discipline system.
If still concerned, have students practice the names of the discipline levels (Democracy/ Conformity/ Bullying/ Anarchy) out loud and always refer to the names, rather than the letters.
These postings discuss a similar concern about this discipline system and may be of interest: