Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog

October 29, 2010

Teachers Beware: Planning, Testing, Pacing, Differentiation, Collaborating, Insanity

Filed under: Education Policy,Teaching — millerlf @ 3:38 pm
Here is an amusing but scary video that shows two toy figures in a conversation that tells you everything you need to know about what is driving school reform today: a nonsensical obsession with assessment and data that has brought a rigidity to classes that makes real teaching and learning impossible. To see in full go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVXhA_hs2J8&feature=player_embedded
Following is some of the dialogue:
Male figure: Let’s begin today’s collaborative planning meeting with successes and challenges. Who would like to volunteer some successes? You are all required to volunteer successes.
Female voice: My students are not understanding verse structure. We have been working on it for three days….
Male voice: That is not a success. You need to mention a success for this week.
Female voice: There have not been any this week. Today is Tuesday and Monday was a holiday.
Male voice: See, it was not hard to find a success. Stop being so negative and we can get more done. Does anyone have a challenge to volunteer?
Female voice: I have a challenge. My students are not understanding verse structure.
Male voice: How do you know that they don’t understand? Where is your test data?
Female voice: I haven’t given the test yet but i know they don’t understand the material.
Male voice: Then how do you know they don’t understand?
Female voice: They told me.
Male voice: But if you don’t give the assessment how can you know where your students are?
Female voice: They told me they don’t understand what I am talking about. The students raised their hands said we do not understand verse structure. They also presented a notarized petition and held a press conference. They compared last night’s homework to translating the Bhagavad Gītā into Klingon from its native Sanskrit then translated a passage in front of me to show it is less difficult…
Male voice: But if you don’t give the assessment how can you know where your students are?
Female voice: Fine. I gave a test. They scored a negative 38 percent.

Male voice: That is a low score. They definitely don’t understand verse structure. Have you taught verse structure?…..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVXhA_hs2J8&feature=player_embedded

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