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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Literacy, Creativity Just As Important As

As an educator, I have never been a fan of standardized testing. I have always wondered why I was required to learn about brain-based learning, how every child is gifted in some way, and all the different learning styles only to be pidgeon-holed into using methods and practices designed to prepare my students for a week-long test in April.

Sometimes I believe that we know the right thing to do, but we are afraid to do the right thing because we lack the confidence in our abilities, ideas, or instincts. We think to ourselves, "What if our students choose poorly on the circle-coloring, high-stakes test in April!? Then I will be wrong, and I don't want to be wrong. I'm a teacher...I can't afford to be wrong: especially now that our profession (at least in the state of Georgia) claims that all decisions are 'data-driven.' My instincts aren't 'data-driven.' I'll go ahead and take the path of/to least resistence, and do it their way. Then if we don't make AYP, at least it's not my fault."

I just want to know whose data we are trusting.

One thing I have come to believe in educating children in the 21st century, is that teaching is more of an ART than it is a SCIENCE. But the current pendulum swing is hanging on the science side of the arc. Could it be that this is why people like David Warlick, Will Richardson, and others (see my blogroll on the right) are so welcomed by teachers and conference organizers? The entries to their blogs are artistic. They are willing to risk saying that education, technology, and children are complicated, unpredictable, and controversial.

Science says, "Block the questionable websites. We have the technology to do it...and it's way cool." Art says, "Try this. Be willing to fail. Be willing to be confronted by others who don't understand. Be ready to answer questions about MySpace and the "risk" of people connecting with each other. Be willing to have students so engaged that you will work harder than ever before, but you will also be more fulfilled in your contribution to society."

From outside the realm of education, I came across this brilliant gem from the 2006 TED. It is a 20-minute, extrememly entertaining, AND educational presentation by Sir Ken Robinson. I watched it once by myself, and then with my 17 year old son...whose response was, "Yep." I took that as an affirmation of the content. Take some time and watch.

Click the Picture - The embed source would not work for me.


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