Beyond test-focused policies

Welner and Mathis (National Education Policy Center) make a strong case against the focus on standardized testing. I agree there are limits to the testing. It’s a means to an end. That end is not the test itself, but part of communicating with students about learning experiences.

To me the goal of education should be to improve the Self (Keegan) through dialogue (Biesta / Deridda) and therfore learning outcomes can be undefined! It’s the learning experience that defines the true value. It creates a better understanding (context), yet allows each participant to take ownership and personal definition. Yes we can agree to disagree! Something which is rarely part of formative assesment.

Sidorkin’s Beyond Descourse  takes dialogue beyond the framework of discourse, making it an end in itself rather than a means toward better education. Therefore to improve education in the creative classroom we should be willing to have dialogue without predefined outcomes.

Practically this could be something like: “Choose a subject you would likt to investigate and choose your own method of presenting your findings!”. My role would be to frequently engage students in a dialogue which is focussed on the process,  the inquiry ( or Enquiry as in Roberts) and not on the subject of their research. I find this to be a great way of challenging stundents to express themselves.


Career readiness

There are two major trends in the world that pose a fundamental challenge–and many opportunities–to our educational system. One is the world is shifting from an industrial economy to a knowledge economy. The other is the rising generation–brought up on the Internet–is very differently motivated to learn.

These two forces, argues Dr. Tony Wagner, co-director of Harvard’s Change Leadership Group, compel us to reconceptualize education in this country. In his thoughtful analysis of future industry needs and education readiness studies, Dr. Wagner has identified what he calls a “global achievement gap,” which is the leap between what even our best schools are teaching, and the must-have skills of the future:

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving
  • Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
  • Agility and adaptability
  • Initiative and entrepreneurialism
  • Effective oral and written communication
  • Accessing and analyzing information
  • Curiosity and imagination

See his slides here.