The teachers were amazing markers to have returned the results so shiftly after the tests. Z did pretty well for both Math and Chinese but a ton of careless mistakes for English.
Prior to informing us on the results, he had been most reluctant to tell us how he fared for English. It was only after he got his Math (full marks) and Chinese (1 mark to full marks) did he tell us about his English results.
He seemed to fear that we would scold for not getting full marks and worse, not even scoring within a good grade. I was surprised because I had not commented much on his grades and always made it very clear that I felt upset over the callous carelessness.
Anyway, we did not scold him.
I explained that I recognized all the efforts he had put in to finish his assessment books and read papers. Before I saw his English papers, I had wondered if he needed help in the subject. After looking at the paper, I had to say I was pretty relieved that he lost all the marks due to careless mistakes. It meant very little action after review was required on our end.
I communicated that we were disappointed by his carelessness but it wasn’t going to matter to us.
I reminded him again that we loved him and it did not matter what scores he received, as long as he had tried his best via completion of the necessary work planned for him.
Knowing Mr H’s first instinct was to reward Z, I halted him.
The worst we could do was to adopt an external motivation approach. I wanted to nurture Z towards an internal motivation model. Carrot & stick was an external motivation approach. If he did well and we chose to reward him, what if he did badly?
We had always been generous with the kids. We did not require good results to buy things for them. In fact, Z always had a more than healthy dose of fun. At the end of the day, it was about working hard and playing harder. As long as he put in his best efforts, he was always entitled to play and play.
On a side note, I was majorly pleased that he scored full marks for his Chinese Show & Tell. Not because I was proud of him, but more of because I was proud of myself for being such an awesome home tutor!