When this came across my screen the other day, I had my big aha moment. This meme resonates with me. It so aligns to my why in education. I always explain to my student teachers that it's not what you cover in class that is important, it's what you and your students do with the information that is important.
But then I was looking at the quote and it took my thoughts in a different direction. Let's imagine a classroom in high school where the students are leading the direction of the course. Where their imaginations allow us to go in many directions. This would be my ideal world. See I have always seen myself as a facilitator of learning and not the teacher. I want the students to take the material and go with it in the direction their interests take them.
Let's all teach like our elective courses do.
Performance tasks and assessments are used in certain areas, like visual arts, phys ed, shop, home ec and career tech. It is a natural focus of instruction and assessment. Student engagement in these classes is evident as it establishes real life contexts.
WHY oh why are we not all doing this.
When we use performance tasks as assessment, it enables you to gauge a student's understanding and proficiency of the topic. Students are given a guideline but they get to take the lead and decide where their learning will go. Students dig deeper and apply the 21st century skills of critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication and technology use. Again, we would be filling the aspects of the core competencies in BC new curriculum.Yes, I know that it will take work to get to a complex and authentic performance assessment but it is worth the effort.
I always ask these questions whenever I am planning a performance task at the end of a unit. I always look if it hits the following areas:
* Does it address the unit outcomes
* Does the task ask for understanding and transfer of content
* Does it extend thinking
* Does it establish a meaningful, real-life application
* Does it allow students to demonstrate their understanding or proficiency with choice and variety
* Does it incorporate technology and maybe other subjects
So once I have a solid idea for a performance task, I need to look at how I will evaluate it. I generally work with the group to formulate our assessment and I always have my students do a self reflection of what worked, what they would change and what could have gone better. This always allows my students to have a chance to say where they got to and if they had longer where they would like to get to.
So let's get out of our silos. Let's stop worrying about prepping our students for the university style of assessment. Let's lead the change.. Let's be the educators who develop our students to be life long learners.... not just students who are good a the game of school.