Why are We Doing This?

I love the topic that @MargaretGSimon from Reflections on the Teche has teased us with for today’s #DigiLitSunday blog post.
Why are we doing this?
Why are we doing this, indeed! 
Sometimes asking this question can be risky. 
It didn’t used to be that way. 
At least I don’t remember it being this bad. 
When I was a new teacher, “why are we doing this?”, was expected and taken seriously. 
It demonstrated that the teacher was thinking about her or his practice and the needs of students. 
Now, I don’t want to give the impression that everything back then was peachy keen! 
Not by a long shot! There were schools where this question wasn’t encouraged at all. 
However, at the time, smart administrators recognized that asking this question, and similar questions, was likely to lead to great conversations. In the current educational climate, it seems that asking, “Why are we doing this?”, immediately shuts down any further discussions and the asker is seen as a troublemaker and not a collaborator. 
Wow! 
But, I think we owe it to our students to continue to ask, “why are we doing this?” 
Why are we spending so much time on external tests that don’t give us information that matters? 
And, more to the point, why are we testing kids three times a year, more in some cases, on computers that sometimes don’t work?  
Why aren’t teachers’ assessments of their students considered valid enough? 
Why aren’t we using our time to read, write, participate in Mystery Skypes, or anything else that lets kids explore learning?
Why aren’t student projects, conversations and teachers anecdotal records and observations considered valid assessments? 
Why are we doing this?
Why are we using external test data to decide whether or not a student needs an intervention
Just the phrase, “an intervention”, gives me the chills, and not in a good way. 
Conventional wisdom says, “let’s do a 6-week intervention to fix this student. Then, we can show “growth” on the next external test results.” 
Hmmm. 
Why are we doing this?
And, more to the point, why don’t we stop?

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