Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Inside Four Walls: A lesson in socialism

Here is a nice little hidden lesson I do every year to show my kids that no one likes to have their hard work toyed with. What they earn is theirs, not anyone else's. It is my little lesson in socialism.

I tell the students that for grades everyone will get the class average, which is usually around a C (70 - 75%). At that point, all the A students complain saying they worked to hard to have their grade changed. I tell them that they are simply helping out their fellow students and I am just redistributing the points so everyone is equal. The lower students are happy because they don't have to do any work and they will get a passing grade.

Eventually, the higher students tell the lower kids to work harder to bring up the average. The lower kids laugh and tell them why? They are passing already. So then I have to chime in and tell them that the lower kids don't get it, so if you want the average to go up, the B & A students will have to work harder to raise the average because we don't expect the lower students to improve.

After that the high students say that they aren't going to work hard anymore. As they put it, what's the point? The average will never get to an A, so why try.

I do this once a year or so to let the kids understand that school is a capitalistic society just like life is. That whatever you earn is yours and shouldn't be taken away from you. By the way, in all my years of doing this only once did a student catch on to the hidden message. He was the president of the campus' young democrats. He had a B and didn't like the idea of lowering his grade to help others, but when I said "redistribute the points" he caught on and smiled.

It goes to show that even though most kids are liberal by nature, even they understand that taking away something they earned is wrong.

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