Summary of “Zen and the Art of Grade Motivation” by Liz Mandrell

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Summary of “Zen and the Art of Grade Motivation” by Liz Mandrell What if teachers decided to do away with the current grading system, and decided to go with the idea of relying on the students drive to learn? How would this change the environment of learning? Do you think that you would have the drive it took to teach yourself? According to Liz Mandrell, author of “Zen and the Art of Grade Motivation,” there must be some award from learning. There has to be some kind of system to let the students know how they are doing (383). In this essay Mandrell presents her trial of testing the non-grading system and whether the students have the drive to learn the curriculum set by the teachers. Mandrell’s own account starts in her high school senior AP English class. Mandrell noticed how most of the students were wishing that they still had junior English class. A handful of students mouthed off about how their junior English teacher, Mrs. Thornton, hardly ever gave out hard assignments. As class went on Mandrell was pelted with more and more complaints about how her class was stressing the students to a level where they could not really focus on their assignments. All the class came together in unison and agreed that she was assigning them too much work. After some serious thought Mandrell concluded that maybe a change in the way the class was taught would release some of the stress put on the students and take away the worries of focusing on grades (380). After Mandrell was burdened with the complaints of her class, she went home to meditate on the day’s new found conclusion: the students thought her class was a nightmare. With this thought in mind different questions ran through her mind. How would she meet everyone’s needs? How could she lighten what the students thought to be such a heavy burden? According to Mandrell, teachers know how to meet the student’s needs,

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