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Caela Burrell

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Would you still do school work if you weren't getting a grade for it?

One of my friends, a straight A student, recently told me that she wouldn't be doing her work if it wasn't being graded. I discussed this with some other friends and they all said the same. Does nobody do work just for the sake of learning now? Or do we need a reward for everything we do and a punishment for everything we don't do?
What would you do?

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  • Mar 15 2013: Would you still get hungry if there was no money?
    Fritzie said it below:
    "I think many students of all ages are intrinsically motivated."
    So, we would all be motivated even if there was no money.
    We aren't motivated by money. That is a lie perpetrated upon humans to make them into slaves.
    Next, they believe they need money to be motivated when they don't.
    I will still want to write, sing, exercise, and teach among many things I like to do.
    Learning is one of them.
    People who are brilliant at a sport will still want to, nay, will need to, compete with and against others who are so highly skilled beyond the average person.
    One who is motivated by music will study, practice and play because they will have to, or go crazy from denying themselves.
    We all will be motivated to be a part of and we will be because without money, all jobs will be equal and so too will the people who do any of them be of equal value to each other, because each job needs to be done.
    Therefore, we will value each other rather than what we do now, which is to devalue each other.
    So, at some point, you will study because you want to, maybe a bit better state than you have to.
    I don't know for sure, but it sure is fun learning things because once you learn something, you get to play with it and that includes so many varied ways, with surprises that come with rewards with others, that you would have wished you really knew before hand, that that was going to happen.
    Well, now you do.
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    Mar 15 2013: I am not in school any longer, but I think many students of all ages are intrinsically motivated. What is likely is that students would put more effort into subjects and assignments that interest them intrinsically and less into assignments that don't.

    I think my son would spend most of his day learning math in a self-directed way, more time reading about science, and stop making maps or doing PE.

    Are you making a distinction between grades and some sort of summary evaluation of learning at the end?
  • Mar 18 2013: yes the fact i could learn something new would drive me more then the grade reward. i may be able to use what i learned to help me and others in someway. This is why i even tuned in to ted in the first place.
    but i must admit your photo was my reward for responding to this.
  • Mar 18 2013: In my secondary school days I may not; but if I knew what I know now at that time, then I would.
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    Mar 18 2013: Moreover, the grade focus leads to egocentric competition for approval rather than a valuing of teamwork in learning and creating. My A makes no difference to anyone but me, and even then only insofar as a prospective employer (or teacher or parent) chooses to care about it, so I would rather have the same learning experience but get a B and then spend the remaining time improving my social relations and mental capabilities and enjoyment of living for what interests me, instead of for a superior's approval.
  • Mar 18 2013: Hi Caela
    I said you just my experiment:
    whenever I study or learn just for learning ,(most of the time I achieved what I want) at the end, I was happy , and I think the most important thing is inner satisfactory(even I failed).
    but when I study for grade or every thing else , studying become hard for me( sometimes I earn it) but if I failed, I sensed that Ive missed my capability.
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    Mar 17 2013: true...
    basically students see the result and work accordingly....
    i think this is because only good grades are appreciated n knowledge is not noticed...so if a student scores good grades, he is believed to be intelligent, independent of his knowledge...
    that makes students work for rewards....
    i would do my school work till i feel i learn something from it, even if i m not rewarded....
    but if i feel that the work gets me no grade n i dnt benefit much from it, i might ignore it..!
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    Mar 17 2013: Yes, I study (fourth year at UofT) because I love to learn, and frankly do not get straight As because of it -- good grades require a tunnel vision focus on the clearly delineated rules that get you there, but there is always too much more to learn that I stumble across when doing research for a paper, or whenever I turn on the wi-fi in the morning. I get so drained by research papers as soon as the interesting research is done, so sometimes, however great the research or invested I was in the analysis, the final composition is a little hastily thrown together, because rather than spend hours more learning almost nothing, I spend that time watching TED Talks or reading Wired or checking out the items I bookmarked along the way. Unfortunately we are taught from a young age to value how our Superiors judge us over how enthusiastic we are about a subject or activity. We don't let students explore enough, so they lose interest in exploring.
  • Mar 16 2013: Sure. There are many on-line courses that increase knowledge and are just for the fun of learning. My wife is currently taking an on-line photography course. I've been a longtime patron of "The Great Courses", a series of college lectures which offer no grades or credit, but, as I drove a truck, helped me productively pass the hours on the highway. I treasure what I've learned from them.
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    Mar 16 2013: Caela, People who get straight As are very competative. They know who is in their league and who is not. They thirst for knowledge and are drawn like a moth to a flame. If suddenly no grades were given ... many would write papers and submit them for publication .... by publishing their works they have achieved the recognition that were formally "grades". The down side to that is they would "specialize" in their "favorites" and have limited over all education. In short a savant.

    If for some reason golfers no longer kept score .... the good golfers would still count strokes mentally because they are that competative.

    I have no reason to doubt your friends ... however, I do think that something would have to take the place of their school work that they could throw as much attention into as they do school work now.

    I wish you well. Bob.
  • Mar 15 2013: human beings are present consumers almost no one can look to the future and do the things that would aid and better the future because we live in the "present" we want constant enjoyment and work is never enjoyable unless we get a reward otherwise you feel like you wasted your time
  • Mar 15 2013: Yes and no. I would always do my math homework. Then, in 9th grade it was never graded, so I stopped doing it. I learned then that if you do not do the homework, you do not review the material enough to learn the equations, concepts and create the neurological pathways to allow you to easily solve similar problems. At the end of the year I had fallen behind and needed a tutor. In the end I aced the final, pulling a B in the class. That being said, I would always read. I loved to learn about different cultures and time periods. Historical fiction was my favorite. One of the reasons I did not do my math homework was because of my reading. I could do my math homework or read. Neither would count towards my grade. I was proficient at math and at reading, so the immediately necessary for me to do one or the other. I chose reading over math homework.

    Working and learning are two separate things. In some classes, the work is busy work. One does not learn anything from it except how to do tedious things. Although one can learn by working, the two are not mutually inclusive. In my opinion, school work demonstrates to the teacher that you have learned something. Some teachers are wonderful enough to build learning into the work assigned, but that is unusual. I had a physics professor in university who's tests taught one something as one demonstrated understanding of the material. I loved his tests. They were fun.

    Another thing you learn is that there are consequences for everything one does and does not do. Whether we need additional imposed ones that make the detriments of not doing work obvious is the question.
  • Mar 15 2013: Oh,that's a really meaningful question:)anyway now if I want to do school work or not,it doesn't depend on a grade anymore.Because I keep' never too old to learn' in my heart.If I think it helps me learning,I always like to try very hard to do school work.Now I learn coding again from internet .I am doing very hard about the school work and I really enjoy it very much.meanwhile I feel really happy I am not forced to choose to do school work anymore.