Summer has unofficially come to an end, and the kiddos are back to school … and I’m extending my summer sabbatical so I can finish a lingering project. I do not yet know how this is going to affect The Arts Room; I guess we’ll all see as time goes by. For today, though, I want to share with you a timely essay written by teacher in North Carolina-
… “And at the classroom level, that means no one ever dares to imagine. Phrases like “what would happen if” and “why should we believe in” that play a regular role in the language of innovators and entrepreneurs are replaced with phrases like “do you know how to” and “what do you remember about” which do nothing more than emphasize the skills required to find the right answers to someone else’s questions.”
-excerpted from “Are We Asking the Right Questions?” by Bill Ferriter
The current preoccupation with standardized testing has spurred an obsessive-compulsive school culture to take root in districts throughout the nation, and here at home. Speaking as a parent with children in the system, it is not difficult to pinpoint the things our schools are doing to boost standardized test scores; it is much harder to discover what our schools are doing to teach our children to think creatively, learn from their mistakes, and discover the power of lifelong learning. Achieving a high percentage of ‘proficient’ test scores does not necessarily mean that students are engaged in meaningful learning experiences – it simply means that more students are getting good at taking the tests. I agree with Sir Ken Robinson, who says our schools must be transformed, not merely reformed, and I’ve written before about the ways I’d like to see our schools transformed. Our district, like many others, has become obsessed with “the Data”. We are at the beginning of a new school year, and before we completely lose sight of the forest while we tally the trees, we need to stop and think about what Bill Ferriter is writing about – in our zeal to enact school reforms to improve education, are we even asking the right questions?