Teachers Shame Students for Better Exam Results, Report Shows

August 28, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. shame / ʃeɪm / (v.) – to cause someone to feel embarrassed
Example: The teacher shamed the student for giving the wrong answer.

2. differentiate / ˌdɪf əˈrɛn ʃiˌeɪt / (v.) – to distinguish or set apart
Example: Students need to differentiate the two species in their exam.

3. entail / ɛnˈteɪl / (v.) – to involve
Example: Teaching entails learning with the students.

4. hinder / ˈhɪn dər / (v.) – to prevent or stop
Example: The heavy traffic hindered him from arriving at school early.

5. petition / pəˈtɪʃ ən / (n.) – a written request to do something, signed by many people
Example: The residents made a petition to install more street lights in their neighborhood.


Read the text below.
A study reveals that some teachers in the United Kingdom shame students to encourage better exam results.

London Metropolitan University’s study found that posting student rankings on classroom walls is one form of shaming done by some teachers. Some even mark their students’ exercise books to differentiate the top-ranking ones from those who are at the bottom.

The pressure to get better grades affects both students and teachers. Students tend to be more at risk of having mental health issues because of the pressure they go through in school.

Meanwhile, teachers’ roles also entail a lot of pressure. Because some schools already classify students based on their achievements or their ability to be on top of the class, teachers are hindered from getting to know students individually.

Many schools also enforce strict teaching methods, which limit the teachers’ creativity and cannot be easily adjusted for different types of students.

The University of Cambridge also faces an issue related to grade shaming. Early this year, a group of students began a petition to stop the tradition of publicly posting the final grades of students outside the university’s Senate House.

The “Our Grade, Our Choice” group wants the university to let students decide if they want their grades to be posted publicly. Those who have signed the petition think that this tradition does not take the students’ welfare and privacy rights into consideration.

In response, the university spokesperson said that students who feel uncomfortable about having their grades published may ask for exemption from their instructors.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think shaming students is an effective way to improve their performance? Why or why not?
·         What are the negative effects of the shaming method on students? Explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         What would be a positive way for teachers to motivate students to perform better?
·         What other occupations or activities shame people into performing better?

August 28, 2015