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View Diary: But Why Do We Bash Teachers? (180 comments)

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  •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
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    ER Doc, AaronBa

    The thing is you have to qualify which type of testing. Standardized? Normed? Formal? Summative? Informal?  And then, based on the type of test, you have to look at what that test is actually telling you about what that student has learned. As in, what does it even mean to learn? Doing well on tests of certain types tells you only certain things about certain types of learning. There's a whole science to testing that is not at all payed attention to or considered when we're looking at how to assess learning. The primary concern is always, always, always MONEY.

    Then this:

    In an ideal world, tests scroes would be used to identify which teachers are the most successful at teaching and their methods would be studied and taught to all teachers.

    takes on very different meaning, depending on the type of test that was used and how we define learning. There are incredible variables when it comes to what students learn, how they learn it, and how they best demonstrate how they've learned it. And to tie teacher pay or teacher evals to results that are often dictated by testing that's only showing a sliver of information re; content knowledge and ability to apply that knowledge (generalize it) which is one very reasonable definition of learning, is not reasonable. And it is reasonable for unions to fight that. There is so much research (so much) that shows what kids need to learn and how to measure it. It's not easy. It requires incredible investment, patience, very high level training of teachers, and pedagogical/curricular/assessment decisions that are not made by administrators but by educators and tied to good research. It's out there. But it doesn't support our "cheap cheap cheap" approach.

    Statistically, about 10% of any given class of students is going to basically be teaching themselves. They have highly adaptive intelligence that enables them to, even with bad teachers, get what they are supposed to get from the material and generalize it to other areas of learning. The vast majority of kids (the other 90%) need to actually be taught. Which is a very demanding skill. Highly demanding and highly sophisticated. And it can't be done if what we expect of teachers flies in the face of how we now know the brain is wired to learn. Not individual learning styles, I'm talking how our neuropsychological cognitive systems are all evolutionarily designed to learn. We know this stuff. It's not controversial until we talk about it in terms of how much time it actually takes to absorb information and what the proper pace should be and how do we know when someone is "doing without learning" and expecting information that didn't go in correctly the first time to be corrected the next (hint: it doesn't; if it doesn't go in --encode-- correctly the first time, then it isn't accessible for a person to draw upon as a foundation for the next fact they're learning and building upon it). IOW, when we start thinking of the implications of what kids really need to be supported in their learning, and what teachers need in terms of training, respect, support, and pay, then we see that the will we lack in truly making this a functional approach based on science is b/c it's too expensive.

    A great book that's an easy read for this is Why Don't Students Like School?by David Willingham. He's looking at  how we teach through the lens of cognitive science and while I don't agree w/ everything in his book, he's got a perspective that far more people who want to critique our educational policies should understand.

    Let the yoke fall from our shoulders; Don’t carry it all, don’t carry it all; We are all our hands and holders; Beneath this bold and brilliant sun; And this I swear to all - The Decemberists

    by Tookish on Sun May 01, 2011 at 07:51:23 PM PDT

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