I’m frustrated. Maybe this has a lot to do with me learning so much from my PLN about reforming education and having moved on in my teaching practice to establish a new pedagogy. Had I not taken so much time this summer to really piece together a new view of my teaching then this post is never written.
We are missing the boat. There is a massive gaping hole between facilitating learning from a real world view point that stresses fluent use of technology, communication, collaboration, problem solving and learning in context vs. education the kids are getting in our schools. Why is there such a massive hole? Better yet, why is the idea not being grasped that by teaching to a test today is not serving the needs of our kids tomorrow?
Current teaching practices emphasize low-grade test score teaching strategies over high quality teaching practices. Teaching practices have to transform into facilitation practices. A good facilitator perceives and understands the thinking of students and makes appropriate instructional shifts to guide the learners to correct yet deep understandings. The facilitator must be keen and sharp thinking to instantly assess a student or students needs. To facilitate means to give up control of direct instruction driving learning in favor of direct instruction. In essence, a facilitator and leaner create new learning together side by side. Teachers can no longer be content to just help kids pass a state test for the sake of statistics, titles, bragging rights and AYP. There can only imagine the uninspired learners we have sitting at desks wondering what all of it means in their lives. A simple parallel is drawn: testing teaching = uninspired learners. Maybe this is beginning to make sense to me why students cannot remember from year to year what the curriculum says they should. No student is inspired to learn anything because they know it is just to pass the test.
I have had numerous conversations with colleagues about state test scores and all of the interventions that need to happen to help student So and So pass the test. Add dozens of names to the list in each grade and you have an epidemic in each school with a pandemic consequences at the district level. The cry is, “Help every student pass the test!” Ask a kid what was learned two weeks after it was taught and you are likely to get a blank stare with a barely audible “I don’t know.” Frustrating. What are we doing wrong that a child cannot tell us something about what was learned? Isn’t this screaming about transforming our schools and teaching practices? I guess not.
Here’s how I see it. Schools and teachers tout passage rates, or lack there of, on state tests but miss the boat helping a child learn deeply and intrinsically through sound facilitation practices.
Ok, someone set me straight if I am way off here.