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Saturday, February 12, 2011

EDM613 MAC - Week 2 Reading - The Art of Possibility

Where will your A take you in your world of possibilities?

Our children start in life with no stifling concerns about expectations. They are free from those constraints and it is reflected in their creative self expression. Unfortunately, that begins to change as they enter the world of education. Grades become the measuring stick of their growth, instead of pencil marks on a door frame or pictures of their imagination in play. Conversations change from, "Let's pretend we're on an adventure...," to, "Why did you fail that test?" It's no wonder so many children become disengaged in school, and from their families. They are being asked to perform within the box of expectations rather that thinking outside the box and in a world of possibilities. With the pace of technology changing the world we live in, we NEED to encourage the wider thinking outside the box, filled with the potential of creativity, and ever expansive thinking. The future does not exist inside the archaic box of measurement of the past. Rather than admonishing our children and ourselves for not conforming to the measurement standards that are so rigid, we need to encourage them and ourselves to, as Jim Morrison sang, "Break on through to the other side." Exploration and growth has always depended on the belief that more is out there, we need to go and find it. Ask the early explorers, scientists, philosophers and artists. I'm not quite sure how that was lost in guiding our children, students, and each other, but we need to believe in it again.

4 comments:

  1. One thing I have never, ever understood is why the grading system has not changed. People have to understand that a student doesnt really have to learn to get an A these days because the way the system is set up. You have so many different resources and ways to get information because of the internet that kids these days can literally copy and paste to a good grade. When will administrator learn?

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  2. “"Let's pretend we're on an adventure...," to, "Why did you fail that test?" It's no wonder so many children become disengaged in school, and from their families. They are being asked to perform within the box of expectations rather that thinking outside the box and in a world of possibilities. With the pace of technology changing the world we live in, we NEED to encourage the wider thinking outside the box, filled with the potential of creativity, and ever expansive thinking.”

    Catherine, I agree with you completely! However, we must change the system and start with the younger grades. I do not know the answers, but I do know that many students are stuck in this mode of “feed me.” My high school students want me to just feed them answers that they can memorize or walk them through step by step in the hands-on projects. I must be honest that when I try to give them free reign to be creative, I find it difficult to give them grades. And I MUST give them grades, even if I don’t really want to. However, I remember when there was a movement (short lived) to do away with grades. It was horrible in that there was no accountability, nothing for colleges to compare to. I don’t think the system that was tried is the perfect solution, and I most certainly do not claim to know what is, but I agree that we must find one. My daughter is unbelievably creative and I do not want that “squashed” in the typical classroom setting. In fact, I took drastic measures to make certain that it won’t be! I love watching her think outside the box, even if she sometimes comes across as a little eccentric.

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  3. Catherine,
    In my district, grades k-2 have a standards based report card. They are assessed on standards and not given letter grades. In grade 3, we make the "big switch" to letter grades. I spend a huge amount of time explaining at conferences that a "c" means the child is working at grade level and meeting the expectations. The proverbial "a" means they have to be exceeding the expectations laid out by the district. There is such a stigma placed on the grades, parents are quick to forget that their child needs to meet standards.

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  4. Interesting invocation of the morrison when talking about escaping the world of measurement. Some might think that a bit revisionistic, kind'a like using David Bowie to sell cell phones, but that's okay. Interesting.

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