Testing…Testing

http://teachertomsblog.blogspot.com/2015/02/its-time-to-stop-crazy.html#.VOJDXeSHKXY.facebook

In a previous post I wrote about getting rid of homework. We need to seriously consider getting rid of testing, as well. Especially for younger children. Here I attached a link to a recent post by one of my favorite education bloggers, Teacher Tom. In his post he discusses the history and the ramifications of standardized testing in public schools. It does not look like the practice of high-stakes testing is going away any time soon, despite the fact that good teachers are leaving the profession in throngs.

If you are a parent concerned about the effects of high-stakes testing on your child, the lack of real learning and the driving away of your child’s natural passion for learning, and reality that great teachers are leaving the profession, where can you turn? This is where budgeting for private options for your child’s education becomes a real consideration.

As a former public school teacher, I was faced with the same realities of the demands for high-stakes testing, and simply could not continue in the public schools. But, at heart I am still a teacher, and passionate about teaching kids. I did leave the public schools, but didn’t leave the teaching profession, I just changed my path. I became certified in Montessori teaching and still employ these methods today. In Montessori education, there is no formal or standardized testing. Children are guided and observed in their work (at all ages and stages of development), and evaluated according to their accomplishments on real-time tasks. They aren’t evaluated according to any specific time table, or against any kind of standard of performance of their peers. This keeps the stress out of learning, and keeps the joy of learning alive.

My teaching profession continued on the Montessori path, but there are many alternatives to public school available that a family must research before choosing the right one for your child. You have to look at the educational philosophy behind the methods used at any private institution, and find one that matches your own; one that you can support in your home life, and one that you can be consistent with in your relationship with the school and your child’s teachers. Don’t stop looking at simply price or location. An education of convenience won’t solve the problem of meeting the demands for your child’s best educational (and complete) development.

No Homework Required

http://www.educationrethink.com/2011/09/ten-reasons-to-get-rid-of-homework-and.html

This is a link to an article by teacher and blogger from the website educationrethink.com, John Spencer. The article not only gives great reasons to eliminate a homework requirement from childhood, education it also gives some great alternatives to homework.

Many alternatives to homework are actually touched upon in the section where he lists why homework should be eliminated. It’s true that there is inequality, but unless parents (or other adults) get involved with their children’s education and dedicate themselves to providing opportunities to learn instead of homework, how are children going to spend their time actively learning?

What purpose does homework serve? Presumably, homework is about practicing a skill previously presented during the class. But, if a child has the skill mastered, homework is just busy work with no purpose. On the other hand, if the child does not have the skill mastered, mastery won’t likely happen without a different approach to learning the material or concept. So, insistence upon hours of daily homework must be serving some other purpose. It could be serving the purpose to give teachers something to grade. It could give parents a reason for their child/ren to be occupied after school while they are doing their own chores. Either way, homework has the potential to cause a rift in family relationships by creating distance, and causing stress between parent and child when homework is not completed.

It’s tough to go against something that has become a tradition and such a heavy component of ensuring learning, but it’s time to take a deeper look at the purpose and actual results of assigning homework. We need to eliminate the unintentional results, and match outcomes of “homework” with actual learning.