Recently I was lucky enough to engage in a great conversation with Paula White around standards and teacher impact, followed up on her blog here: http://tzstchr.edublogs.org/2010/04/04/kidsmattermore/
My take on teaching to standards and not students is straightforward; I think that when we do that we have a chance of losing the focus and the ability to engage every child in our class. When we feel like there’s little or no point to what we are doing, or that standardized assessments are driving instruction, looking at a case study like the one Paula outlines reaffirms just how important our jobs are and how much of a great teacher just comes innately. Measuring the effectiveness of any position can be tough to quantify, with teachers, it’s even harder.
I had the opportunity to sit down this weekend with an amazing person, “Sebastian Hirsh” @cervus Our conversation quickly glided towards what makes successful schools, and how is the learning designed to empower and engage students. His experience coming from Berlin where they are wrestling with similar questions, gave me perspective and led me towards my own assumptions around pedagogy/andragogy, and why are they so different.
As adults we do not pursue anything that we cannot see the value and transferability in (for some reason, IMO, media doesn’t fit this description though) L
So why are we surprised when we engage students in authentic learning, real applicable skills, and projects that have meaning in them, that they thrive and blow our minds. Sometimes meaning to them comes from seeing us excited, sometimes it is innate and hard to put a finger on, either way an engaged and motivated student is always reachable and teachable…getting them to that point should be our focus.