Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Do I serve you or are you to support me?

As a classroom teacher, I spend the majority of my time working with students while they are still learning, so I have an intense understanding for how important it is for kids to be engaged in learning by doing projects that are in a context and for a purpose. 

Without the information (read: observations) that I gather from such projects, I could not call myself a teacher, nor could my students call themselves learners. 

But how often is data defined like this?

As a classroom teacher, I have absolutely no use for data that reduces learning to a number for the convenience of administrators, policy makers and others who wish to judge the classroom without ever stepping foot in the classroom.

I will not be an accomplice to those who have needs and have absolutely no intention of ever even meeting my students. A system with authentic accountability would never ask me to do so.

If you are a politician, superintendent, schoolboard trustee, administrator or someone else who rarely visits the classroom, you might be thinking to yourself: "I need spread-sheet friendly data to report the successes, failures and growth of the schools." 

To you I say: "As a classroom teacher, am I here to serve your needs for your spreadsheet, or are you here to support me so that I may better serve my students' needs?


  1. We must reject teaching to the test and instead embrace student-centred learning.

  2. There's a great quote on assessment: you can't fatten a pig by repeatedly weighting it, you need to feed the pig!

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  4. I must admit I have visited many classrooms throughout my career in publishing. No other activity has given me more insight into the value of a great practitioner. One can feel the sense of total engagement for both the student and the teacher.

    As we think about how to improve education, I strongly believe that one of the most powerful strategies is to facilitate teachers, principals, board and provincial administrators and any other stakeholders the opportunity (time and back-up) to include classroom observation (non-judgmental) as a REGULAR component of their learning!

  5. I spent a summer as a research assistant where I was supposed to record student responses with a 0,1, 2, or 3. I wrote down their words : )


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