I came across this blog post the other day through my Twitter feed.
The title lured me in. Since #gafesummit Wellington I have adopted the mantra of ‘beautiful disruption’. It seems to fit with what I am trying to do … disrupt TTWWADI but being mindful that it is all ‘justifiable’ as I go about it! Going rogue respectfully is another way to put it! Get informed and get educated, being smart – do your basic job as you innovate, don’t surprise people with your disruption – communicate it along the way, share the successes and the failures, and build a culture of empowerment in the classroom.
Back to the original blog post … ‘Disrupt Assessment’ … I HATE how the purpose of school is dictated by assessment. I was spurred to write this tonight. I am keen to ‘disrupt assessment’ as much as I AM disrupting how I teach. The question immediately arises though “what IS the purpose of school?” I have recently written on this as part of my own reflection of some readings around purpose … for me school is: a place where kids should be empowered to bring out their unique qualities, potentials, and creativity. Alongside this to learn values, skills, knowledge, and dispositions which will enable them to navigate a world in flux. Infused into this definition is the notion of being connected, collaborative, and driven by the learner. This is NOT just for their future but for NOW. What we need to provide (or help them design) is learning experiences which are valuable and relevant FOR NOW … we are not preparing them for High School, or the future AFTER school … we should be giving them skills which will be life-long … for jobs that the kids will likely invent themselves!
What we are doing with assessment is all the wrong way around. As the blog post suggests … “what if assessment methods were dictated by the purpose of school?” How would we do things differently?
Rather than having kids move through the ‘conveyor belt’ of the school system, we need to be empowering our kids to learn HOW to learn. To develop an intrinsic desire to learn. To learn what works for them, where their potentials and strengths are, literacy and numeracy skills which are relevant to them NOW, empowering them to find their spark, providing opportunities for creativity and problem solving, and the purposeful use of digital tools. To learn resilience, empathy, and grit. All of this sitting under an umbrella of a Growth Mindset. If all of this is important for a modern learner, then assessment tasks should be designed to meet these outcomes. Sitting tests and fitting kids into standardised boxes is not relevant. We have all heard that kids aren’t standardised … so we need to be assessing the individual on the stuff that matters. If the only thing that matters is the result of a test we are not developing flexible thinkers who can find more than one answer.
And then as if by magic, the Documentary came on! Everything I was just writing about was being discussed! Too much to comment on but got in some key tweets to add to this blog post!
Our system creates compliant children rather than creative ones. Our ‘Innovator’s Mindset’ chat has also discussed this … innovative thinking can not be nurtured in a compliant classroom. A persistence of authoritarian based approaches will lead to compliant people and will not develop the innovative, creative, critical thinking people the future needs.
Can learning really be measured?
National Standards should not dictate what we do in our classes … I hate the idea that we narrow our curriculum to tick off these standards.
On a slightly different tangent but also about disruption … Through our #BFC630NZ chat topic this morning, Bridget tweeted this as a ‘wondering’ … about ‘report writing’ and the response from Cheryl Doig sums up where my thinking is as well. We have the capability to ‘report in real time’ … let’s start making use of this facility and change the way we report on kids’ learning. Reporting in ‘real time’ is something which could be happening NOW.
I would even go as far as saying – why ‘report’ at all. With the advancement of digital technologies, many schools would have the facility for families to be observing their child’s learning journey throughout the year ‘as it happens’. Then a ‘report’ would not be necessary … we could just ‘celebrate learning’.
Some more ‘beautiful disruption’.