Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Teachers need to be flexible, first and foremost. It is easy to get caught in our own mode of transmitting information to our students, and forget that sometimes, they are moving at a different pace from our own. We are pushed to cover material, cover material, cover material, work our way through that curriculum, faster, faster, with little regard for where our students actually are, and how they truly learn.

It is up to us as trained professionals to keep in mind who our clients truly are: our students. Our job is to meet their needs, no one else's. A little common sense goes a long way when we really think through what we should be doing in our classrooms. If students aren't ready for tomorrow's test, why push to give it? Why not take one more day to review those concepts? Time is relative when learning is being measured. Everyone does not learn the same way or at the same rate. Taking the time to truly TEACH before assessing ensures all students have a fair opportunity to experience success.
Wayne C. Booth said, "Use fewer examinations, fewer quizzes, and more essay assignments. You don't know anything about a subject until you can put your knowledge into some kind of expression."
So instead of giving a test because it is Friday, or you've hit the end of a chapter, or because the marking period is ending soon and your student's grades need a boost, give more writing assessments all along. Ask them to write what they've learned. Ask them to apply it to their own lives. Forget multiple choice and matching and fill in the blank. Teach students to think and learn and master that knowledge. Teach them to teach you and others what they've learned and why it is important.
Then, and only then, will you truly know what they know, what they have learned from your experiences together.

1 comment:

Masquerading Mom said...

Thank you for this! This post will definitely be entered into my "arsenal of advice" for my future teaching career.

Di Di Ross