Students often dread coming to school when it’s Report Card day. There is an innate fear of facing the ‘scores’ and having to read the teacher’s remarks. However, if you are still in school and are reading this, let us assure you that there is nothing to be afraid of and even a bad remark can be taken in a good spirit. The report card aims to provide a transparent picture to learners of their progress and motivates them to perform better in subsequent examinations. Also, the report doesn’t just reflect upon the academic aspects but also focuses on the overall behaviors of students.
When so much is at stake and the child’s development not only academically, but also overall depends upon the teacher’s comments in the Report Card, it is advisable to spend time & effort in thinking through properly, before the report is presented to the students & their parents.
Here are some tips for teachers to consider while curating the Report Cards:
#1 Use Easily Understandable Language
Parents are not experts at understanding the technical terms used in the education system to describe the child’s progress. For example; instead of writing this ‘The child’s cognitive capacity is progressively developing.’ choose simple words such as; ‘The child is able to apply reasoning skills and his memory power is developing.’ In such a manner, the statement is elaborated properly and is easy to understand.
#2 Make Frequent Notes
On the eve of Report Day, if the teacher sits to write the comments, she won’t be doing complete justice. It is not a 10-minute job to summarize the child’s performance, especially when his future depends on it. All through the academic year, the teacher must carefully observe each child in class and make regular notes in her diary, so that the comments are authentic and genuine. Be like a detective and collect pieces of evidence by recording incidents where the child outshone himself or accidentally made a mistake, and enumerate the same in the notes section. Though not everything can be accommodated in the limited space as comments, teachers can refer to these notes while meeting parents one-on-one during open house sessions. If you are not comfortable with pen & paper notes, just log in to the school’s integrated NLP (Next Learning Platform) tool and prepare detailed comments in their report card notes section. NLP is a SaaS-based ERP platform that integrates all aspects of an educational institute and has won the trust of 1200+ schools across the globe, including those in Dubai in the Middle East.
#3 Be Brief Yet Effective
There is no need to include unnecessary jargon and run around the bush, just be straightforward while choosing your words. You are not writing a story about the child’s time in school, it has to be a brief picture of his behavior, grades, and overall development. For example, something like this, ‘Max always raises his hand in class to answer a question and likes to be picked by the teacher, or else he gets sad.’ All these details can be very well elaborated in person, but in the report card stick to this, ‘Max shows eagerness to answer questions asked in class.’
#4 Try To Say Things Positively
A negative comment may put off the learner and he may lose confidence in himself. Therefore, being too harsh while sharing your thoughts is unfair. Try to word the sentence in a manner where parents don’t feel you are complaining about their kid, but instead trying to draw attention to an area that needs improvement. For example; rather than saying this, ‘Riya does not participate in group discussion and is in her own world distracted’, word it differently, ‘Riya should proactively participate in group discussions and show more interest in the class.’ In this way, you are not hurting the sentiments of the student.
#5 Offer Suggestions
Personalized suggestions must be offered to each student, to show a direction and steer them on the correct path. You could use a sandwich approach, i.e. begin the comment with a positive statement, and try to fit in the not-so-pleasant comments in the middle, followed by suggestions at the end. Suggestions could be anything such as; offer more puzzles to the child at home to develop his problem-solving skills, let the child help with household chores so that he learns to become more independent, or even something like; introduce the child to more people & friends of his age-group to overcome shyness. A bit of guidance will go a long way! As we mentioned earlier, the NLP tool provides detailed analyses of each and every individual student’s progress, which comes in handy at the time of preparing the report cards. Most schools in the GCC regions, including UAE, prefer to digitalize important tasks, especially report making, to ensure seamless functioning.
To conclude, just remember these easy-to-apply tips and you will never go wrong when it’s actually time to express your thoughts on D-day. Keep your notes organized, offer positive suggestions, communicate the weaknesses of the student in a subtle manner, and we’re sure you’d play the part of a good mentor well.