Friday, March 9, 2012

Teaching to the Test

Teaching to the Test

As much as I hate to admit it, I "teach to the test" all the time. As an AP English Language teacher, I must cram all kinds of knowledge into my hapless high school cherubs' craniums between early September and mid-May. And, as a teacher of 11th-graders, same kind of drill, only in a much more basic, state-mandated-standardized-test kinda way.

This morning I happened upon a display at my local coffee shop that impressed upon me just how dire the circumstances are in today's classrooms. Across the country, kids as young as 6 are learning the fine art of regurgitating information just so the pencil-pushers who preside over our most precious commodities - our children - can quantify the amount they "learn" each year.

The above snap comes from a display of first grade students. The kids had obviously visited the coffee shop to learn the fine art of customizing a Cup o' Joe. Then they'd practiced the rapidly disappearing art of penning a thank you note, always a good thing.

I'm guessing that the teacher wrote key words and sentences on the board, in order to prompt her class on composing cute missives. I believe, however, that this student's note emphasizes more about the crisis we face in education, rather than his/her penmanship skills or attempts at bonhomie.

Appears that the cherub took a look at the board, then carefully copied at least part of what the teacher had written. No context, no complete sentences, no thoughts rendered. Much like today's American education system, don't you think?


Tara R. said...

A sad commentary indeed.

Lucy said...

My 81 year old mother told me the other day that parents today are going to end up shutting down the schools because they won't let teachers teach and there won't be any teachers left and my mom went on to say supposedly these parents are educated and she said, the biggest problem with these so called educated parents, they think they know it all and their children are always telling the truth and worse half of them believe their kids are smarter than the teachers. I mean my mom went off. I am glad my kids are raised but I am scared if they have kids. Sorry to ramble.


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