Would You “no change” a Tiny Tiger?

Written by on March 5, 2011

It’s Tiny Tiger testing, or whatever you call it–advancement, graduation, rank promotion.   This one little  4-year-old boy is slightly distracted by all the activity, and just stands there, still.   He’s been an average student, never really disruptive, but also never super enthusiastic either.   But he’s been in class twice a week and has been doing his punching and kicking.

Now, unexpectedly, while all the other TIGERS are kicking and blocking and answering, he has shut down and stands still.   His mother, in all innocence, sees his plight and begins a few encouraging gestures.   He still does not move.   His mother continues her efforts, at this point actually speaking to him since she is just  a few feet away.   He still does not move.   One more word of encouragement from Mom and then it happens.  The tiger looks at her, and in the most rude manner,  speaks out,  “Shut up!”    Everyone, including you and his Mom, hears it.

Let’s look at another example, similar situation.   It’s graduation and one of your tigers just stands there or just sits there.   Regardless of your best efforts and the best efforts of your assistants, you cannot get this student to do anything, and of course, during class he usually did all of the punches and kicks.    Now, for some unknown reason, he has shut down and simply does nothing while everyone else has been punching, kicking, blocking, and answering.

Now it is time to pass out belts.  What do you do?    Does this child get his belt along with all the other kids who actually followed directions,  did punches, kicks, and blocks, went through a form or combination independently OR led by an instructor?  Does this child—age 3 or 6 or 9 or 10—get the same recognition as the other children who actually did their “karate assignments”?

Please do not read anything else into these situations.  Don’t worry about age or special needs or anything.   Just comment on the situation as presented.   The two situations are a little different.  What would you do and why?   What do these situations mean to you as instructor?   as a business person?    as a parent?  Is there any connection between “parenting” in these situations and “instructing.”    In what way can your decision impact all those watching the scene?

Let’s talk.  Post your comments right here.


via FACEBOOK   from Tammy Chavet:

“I believe we allow children to move on too easily. Even little kids quickly learn that they can do about anything and pass. I understand that we are attempting to build self-esteem; however, if children feel they didn’t really earn their belt we aren’t reaching that goal.”

via FACEBOOK from Jay Brinkmeyer:

NC a 4 year old Tiger? Wow, that would be harsh! Maybe just retest ’em offline or anticipate and put it off until they’re more ready. Better get with mom & dad too…”

via FACEBOOK from Lori  Johnson

“We have had a couple no change Tiny Tigers over the years, neither the child or the parents had issue with it in those cases. It should be noted that they never failed an exam again and they are all still training with us. All our students and parents are aware from day 1 that a test is not a free ride to the next rank.”

  1. Lance Evans   On   March 5, 2011 at 12:29 am

    You bet I would “no change” him. Its one thing for a Tiger to get nervous and freeze. Its quite another thing to be openly disrespectful in public. By awarding him his belt, you would, in effect, be telling everyone that you can do nothing at testing, be openly disrespectful, and that’s ok. Before belt rank, I would inform the parent of the decision, but then create an alliance with the parent – not allowing the student to quit, and helping the parent to understand the reasons for the no change, and helping the student to understand the concept of having consequences for their actions. If the student can learn that as a Tiger, maybe it will prevent him from being even worse as he grows up.

  2. Vincent Young   On   March 5, 2011 at 12:50 am

    Situation # 1: The tiger would be told be me that he gets too see me after testing and have a talk with his parents and me. No test that day and no belt.

    Situation # 2: The frozen student would be told to”see me after testing” instead of being called up to receive a belt. This way he feels he is getting something….more to come on

  3. Janet Credo   On   March 5, 2011 at 1:31 am

    I actually have “no changed” a tiny tiger who exhibited similar behavior at a testing. He was acting up and was looking for attention from his parent during the testing. He didn’ get a belt when all the others did. Then we had a talk afterward to help him understand why he didn’t graduate. His parents understood. I don’t reward unwanted behavior and this child quickly realized that there are consequences for his actions. Parents of the other tigers commented to me about their relief when they saw this tiger not pass. While I don’t frequently “no change” tiny tigers, I don’t have a problem doing it, especially when attitude is an issue.

  4. Jessica Young   On   March 5, 2011 at 3:37 am

    First off, I would make the student needs to apologize to his mother immediately, just like a parent would do anywhere else, and let them know that we do not speak to our parent or other people that way. For both scenario’s I would speak with the parent first and let them know I am going to talk to their child and see what happened. Then I would talk to the Tiny Tiger off to the side and let them know that they have one more chance to earn their belt today and if they can’t follow the instructions they will not be getting their belt. If the expectation of “if you freeze at testing you no change” or “if you are rude you no change” isn’t set prior to testing, how can you prepare them for that on the day of testing? If the student is able to perform their material, belt earned. If they are a white or orange belt another chance will be given in the next chance, because they are new and testing can be extremely overwhelming. If it is a higher rank Tiny Tiger, then they will have to wait until the next testing. Teaching, testing, and managing Tiny Tigers is very much like parenting.

  5. Sue Mysynuk   On   March 6, 2011 at 7:59 am

    First this brings up an interesting predicament. If you have not explained to parents and students that “no changes” will be given for lack of respect, frozen students, lack of cooperation it is hard to suddenly institute a “no change” without warning.

    Scenario #1 — Before handing out belts, take parents and student aside, explain that respect for all persons particularly parents and Instructors is an important part of our curriculum and the skill set that a student will need for life. Since the student failed to show respect to the most important person/s in his/her life, you will give him/her a no change and they will be allowed to test at the next testing, no charge.
    You must be kind, courteous but firm.

    Scenario # 2,
    When we are presented with a “frozen student” we ask a Junior Trainee to come on to the floor and do the form with the student, explaining to parents that we would not have allowed a student to test if they had not exhibited in class their ability to do the form. It has always stood out in my mind, that I froze during a Science exam in grade 8, the teacher knew that I knew the work, but for some reason was brain locked, He gave me the exam orally and passed me. That kindness and compassion went along way toward helping me be less afraid so other exams did not become an issue.

    However if even wth prompting, the student was still unable to do the form, then with the help of the parents I would still consider a “no change” explaining that I felt the student would benefit from a frther two months to get ready and would rather see that that pressure the child to continue the test if he was not ready.

  6. Chuck Sears   On   March 9, 2011 at 12:30 am

    Iff a student of any age at any testing exhibits behavior like that, there would definitely be an NC on the spot, followed by a closed door session with the student (and parents if a minor) in which proper etiquette, courtesy, respect, etc. would be discussed in very great detail.

  7. Jerry Driscoll   On   March 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    I agree with most of what has been said I really agree with there is a huge difference between the scenarios. In the 1st there disrespect thing gets an automatic NC. But it being a tiger it needs to be done with a little more care more professionalism. In the 2nd I agree because it was a tiger and a low rank beginner. With an older or higher rank I would allow them to retest later and would consider a partial promotion rather than a full one, depending on student and performance. If I half step them I would explain to student that the partial promotion would be due the freezing and tell them in a self defense situation they would not get a second chance.

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