Across the United States, students have started test prep. Students march through test packet after test packet with the goal of increasing test scores on a standardized test. In North Carolina, all elementary schools administer the End-of-Grade (EOG) Test. The test is a standardized test which measures how well students understand grade level standards.
Post written by Sarah Carlson, Deni Basaraba, Gina Biancarosa, and Lina Shanley
When most people think about reading in science, they think of heavy and densely written texts—the kind you find in science textbooks. Although textbooks remain a staple of science education, they—along with laboratory notes and scholarly reports—are notably lacking from the exemplar science texts referenced in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Rather, the Common Core exemplars include excerpts from articles in popular science magazines, manuals, procedural texts, and (at the high school level) primary-source documents (for example, an excerpt from a translation of Euclid's Elements).
ASCD continually seeks to provide solutions to the challenges that face educators of all levels. A recent ASCD SmartBrief ED Pulse poll reached out to readers of the daily e-newsletter to share their views on the purpose of education.
Recently I was having a discussion with a colleague who is new to the building. This teacher is confident, self-assured, and has decades of experience more than me. We teach the same children, so we meet frequently for RTI and team meetings. This is the type of teacher that takes pride in being "old school," which roughly translates to a no-nonsense, quiet-equals-learning, behavior-should-have-negative-consequences type of environment. It's the model that many of us grew up with. Although I was able to navigate through this system because I was a so-called "good student," many friends were not particularly successful, with the logical assumption that they were "bad students." This model puts the system itself as the driving force for success, which is disempowering both to educators and to the students alike.
Now, the conversation in question did not go smoothly, especially when I insensitively insisted that the teacher "would not be successful" using this old school approach. Realizing that I was working against my goal, I quickly concluded with a final statement that I paraphrased from a Maya Angelou quote: People don't remember what you say; they remember how you made them feel. It is a statement that I share with staff and students, and for me it is at the foundation of the type of teacher I strive to be. It is also at the core of the safe and supported tenets of the whole child approach.
Post written by Mikaela Dwyer, a journalism student at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester. She considers herself a human rights activist and spends her time volunteering on campus and with various local nonprofits. After graduation, Dwyer hopes to join the Peace Corps and then become an investigative journalist for human rights issues.
Brian K. Perkins, director of the Urban Education Leadership Program at Columbia University Teachers College Department of Organization and Leadership, challenged his audience at the 2014 ASCD Annual Conference to think forward about what educators can do today for tomorrow's learners. He explained that innovation is key and reassured the audience that when he says "innovation," he does not mean "improvement." Improvement is just doing better what one is doing already. Innovation is a new solution to a new challenge.
In this era of school reform, turnaround, and educational change, it is easy to overlook the basics of why we educate and what we want for our children. Usually when we talk about "getting back to the basics," the conversation is student-focused, if not always student-centered. These basics of learning vary from the 3 Rs (reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic) to STEM to 21st century skills.
The 2013 Whole Child Virtual Conference reached educators across the globe. Building on its success, the 2014 Whole Child Symposium is another great opportunity for you to interact with leading education thinkers.
Join ASCD for two free events in May: the Whole Child Symposium Live and the Whole Child Symposium Virtual, a series of discussions about effective education and education systems around the world.
School improvement conversations usually focus on quick fixes, those strategies thought to make immediate improvements to student achievement. While this model may work well for some, kids (and their teachers) remain unconvinced because their needs were never really considered to begin with—just their test scores. Even so, schools are encouraged to implement these overly simplistic strategies in spite of the fact they contradict most everything great teachers know to be true and effective.
Teachers know effective teaching connects students to their learning by creating purpose, meaning and enjoyment. They also know effective teaching allows students to feel a sense of accomplishment by using their learning to affect the world around them. At best, quick fix models are short sighted. At worst they are negatively affecting the school experience for large groups of kids who yearn to be motivated, engaged, and have purpose for their learning. In this way, the cycle of disengagement, low test scores, and new quick fixes is perpetuated. To remedy this, we need to replace quick fixes with long-term, sustainable changes aimed at teaching kids in their entirety, not just their data profiles. In short, we need to get back to the real basics of education.