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Old 04-25-2016, 09:09 AM   #26
Clare Din
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 27
Re: Could a child fail a grading?

So my kids took their test and got promoted to yellow belt. They were very happy and smiling the whole way home. They did look back at me from time to time during the practice warmup at the start of class, but they kept focused during the actual test. I think they were at their best when my partner took them to class a few weeks ago. When she takes them to class, she sits on the visitor's bench, but doesn't watch them, instead preferring to read a book or text on her phone. My kids' teacher felt that they really knew their stuff and that it was time to test. The actual test was a lot easier than the things they did in class. They didn't have to do a full backroll, for example, even though they could do full backrolls in class. There were 5 selected to test during the practice, but when test time came, 4 were selected from those 5. The one student who wasn't selected was very young and didn't quite know his movements yet, but he should be ready soon. He was very upset. I wrote in my online journal about how this class was almost a passing of the torch because this time last year my kids' first class was, in fact, a test class where two kids earned their yellow and orange belts. In today's class, there were two new kids - brothers - who looked like my kids when they first started. I hope they stick with it like my kids did.

I really wanted to sit in the lounge area away from my kids so I didn't pose as a distraction, but they insisted I be there watching them. I tried not to look much. I had a book with me. On occasion, I see a parent taking the class with her child. I considered doing that, but the experience of watching class, even a kids class, is very valuable to me. I pick up things by watching the kids class that I had internal questions about when taking the adult class.

At the end of their class, my six year old wondered where his actual physical yellow belt was (the dojo has to order them, so they'll be available in 2 weeks). I had to explain to him that the belts are only a symbol, a representation of the actual achievement, not the achievement itself.

Last edited by Clare Din : 04-25-2016 at 09:12 AM.

YOGAIKI girl - yoga and aikido!
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Old 11-02-2018, 03:33 AM   #27
Douwe Geluk
Douwe Geluk's Avatar
Dojo: Ki Aikido Apeldoorn
Location: Apeldoorn, the Netherlands
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 5
Talking Re: Could a child fail a grading?

Jørgen Jakob Friis wrote: View Post
I've been running a childs class for a year and a half now. It's great fun and every six months we do a test.

We use colored belts for the kids (but not for our adult class) to boost their spirit a bit. We play a lot of games and do simplified versions of some techniques.

So far I have encouraged all students to grade if they have enough trainings behind them in that semester. I tell them what grade they go for. Basically the curriculum is the same for the first 3-4 grades. I look mainly on the individual students progress more than absolute level. Basically I believe that kids should not be able to fail these gradings. It's a chance to celebrate the time spent on the mat and their personal achievements - not a test where we aim at flunking anybody.

It works out okay. But now I have some of my most senior students (1½ years of training) that have lost focus during training. They have hardly progressed during the last 6 months and they are not really acting as good role models for the others). They are not as such bad kids. They behave okay, they just don't really put any effort into their training and they will seem less competent at this grading than some of those going for a lower grade. Age of cause also plays a role here.

I recently read this: http://www.kenneymyers.com/blog/10-r...benefits-kids/

And I agree with most of what he write. I think it is necessary for these kids to have their grading as something they work at, and I would expect them to grow more serious as they go through the gradings. So what to do.. should I keep them back and not allow them to grade? should I let them know that they need to stop slacking? should I flunk them if they don't do well enough?

Right now I am leaning towards just letting them pass and give them feedback on what they do well and suggest a few pointers as to what they should improve.

Any thoughts?

Well giving grades away to.kids just because they participate is not a good thing either. If there is never a fail because everybody does it well all the time then where is the test? or need for testing?

a test is only a test when you can pass or fail. Kids do not have to pass all the time.

Even if you test when people should be ready for it, failing should be an option.

The other site is:

When it comes to kids and parents notice that there kids failed they let their kids stop aikido.

So for money and or school purposes it is in a way a need that kids pass the test.

So teachers should find a fine balanced middle way in testing.
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Old 11-19-2018, 08:26 AM   #28
Derek's Avatar
Dojo: Roswell Budokan, Kyushinkan (AWA)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 74
Re: Could a child fail a grading?

Could a child fail a grading?


Should a child (or anyone) fail a grading?


IMHO. Failing an aikido test is the fault of the instructor. If that student is not prepared for the test, they should not test. That is the decision of the instructor. This is especially true for a child. If they don't have the time or effort or advancement in place to succeed at the test, then they should be told, "Hey your aikido is coming along nicely, but your not quite ready for the test this go round. Take the time between now and the next test to do this, this and that.."

Some argue that failing a test is a test in and of itself. I don't disagree, but I also don't feel that we should set out to fail anyone. The "test" should be a demonstration of knowledge and prowess. If the student (adult or child) is not ready to demonstrate their art, the instructor should tell them and prepare them for sucess.

There are always students that "know" their material and just don't perform well on a test. These are difficult to deal with. I prefer to meet with them and say, "you did this and that well, and need to work and this and that. I'd like you to retest to demonstrate these things in 2 weeks" or whatever. The higher the rank the less coddling.

Derek Duval
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Old 11-21-2018, 08:10 AM   #29
Dojo: Twin Cities Aikido Center, St Paul MN
Location: Eagan MN
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 10
Re: Could a child fail a grading?

Not everyone who has the hours we require is ready to perform in front of authority and may not have absorbed the skills necessary simply by osmosis. The hours are a guide and nothing more, one indication that s/he has been around long enough to learn ukemi and terminology. Some adults come to us from Judo and are comfortable with falls but youngsters like this are rare. We will take a young person and a parent aside, suggest they wait for the next cycle and tell them what needs to improve. The alternative is to let the youngster test, hope they have a good day or let them clank in front of the dojo.
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Old 11-28-2018, 08:33 AM   #30
Derek's Avatar
Dojo: Roswell Budokan, Kyushinkan (AWA)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 74
Re: Could a child fail a grading?

Peter Discenza wrote: View Post
Not everyone who has the hours we require is ready to perform in front of authority and may not have absorbed the skills necessary simply by osmosis. The hours are a guide and nothing more, one indication that s/he has been around long enough to learn ukemi and terminology. .
I would say the hours between testing are really the absolute minimum and there is no shame or dishonor in waiting longer if needed. There seems to be an obsession with promotion as a positive feedback mechanism for students. Sometimes this goes away as they continue in the art, sometimes not. In most cases its not as profound as I've seen in other arts (TKD as a prime example) but in some students they look at promotion as the driving force for practice. This should be discouraged.

Derek Duval
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