Sunday, March 26, 2017

"Strength" in Numbers Better Blogging with Buddies

        This week I chose a fantastic teacher to blog with my friend and colleague Tonya Caswell.  This challenge was a wonderful experience that brought the best out in both of us.  

    This idea of teaching to the strengths of a child and not their weaknesses has such a positive spin from the negative, what you can't do mentality.  I think I have always used this when working with students to help build their confidence within the classroom.

      There needs to be a culture shift away from focusing on what kids can’t do. It starts from the top down.  Standardized testing results is driving our instruction.  Our funding depends on standardized testing results.  Which causes a teach to the test mentality.  That does not allow us to focus on student strengths.  It seems to create this manic pressure to perform well.  We take time away from good first instruction to practice the TEST!  We are not prioritizing the development of a growth mindset, we are  focusing on proficiency and task completion.  Due to the weight these tests are given to determine schools’ success, in reporting results the media only focuses on what our kids can’t do.  This results in communities that focus on failure.

      Innovators are those that are performing under these constraints, but prioritize  developing life long learners through the modeling of using a growth mindset and building on students strengths and interests.  Teachers who know their students and leaders who know their staff build stronger learning communities.
Nothing good comes from working in isolation.
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Thank you Tonya for your opinions and thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. Such a true statement about the pressures teachers face in regards to teaching vs. standardized testing. I also always struggle with what are our standardized tests really testing? How well a student can take a test. I hear from adults so frequently that they didn't do well in school because they're not good at taking tests and yet here they are productive members of our society.

    I would love to see a shift in public education away from measuring a school's "success" based off of their test scores to measuring a school's success based off of where their former students are in life after they leave school. Provide former (and current) students with a customer satisfaction survey :-)