So I shared a video about a better way to teach math with a middle school math teacher. She loved it and it reminded her of an approach she’d seen in a workshop a year ago. the approach was more constructivist. It didn’t feed the students all the info: it gave the beginning and let them derive rules and formulas. It asked for real thinking, creative problem solving and engagement. This teacher began to adopt this approach.
Uh oh. Those students getting straight As on the old model of computation only, who’d been fed most of the information… their grades dropped. Turns out they were good at plugging in numbers, doing the same kind of problems, but not so good at applying, thinking, deriving. In come the parents and administrators demanding that this new approach be stopped because of the dropping grades.
Parents and administrators understood that the method was really TEACHING. It was developing understanding and meaning. But it was more challenging. The test scores weer all that matted. Throw the children’s learning under the bus, we want the good scores. True story. Is this not the saddest thing? We’re chasing meaningless grades over real meaning. We’re abandoning a method that develops better comprehension and application ability in favor of one that is easier, for the grades.
Do we ever need to change this conversation.