I recently read “The engaged student vs. the compliant student” by @justintarte which got me thinking. Why is it always one or the other? Why is it compliance vs. curiosity or grades vs. no grades or engaged vs. disengaged or student choice vs. dictation or fixed vs. growth mindset as if pedagogy in education is so black and white because, really, It’s not.
No one can dictate what is best for them better than you. Maybe some groups need compliance. Maybe some groups thrive on choice. I don’t think there is a “one size fits all” model. While some students fear grades, many are driven by them.
I know, I sound like a hypocrite.
But really, I’d be naive to think every student in my class is engaged 100% of the time. I do my very best to ensure it, but let’s be honest.
I wonder if we place these buzzwords & categories to push thinking. Do we use such extreme scenarios and terms that are so ludicrous just to make a point? That can be very overwhelming to new -and experienced- teachers. On the contrary, if I mention “makerspace” or “Genius Hour” you know what I am talking about. Buzzwords can describe pedagogical thought and practice in 140 characters. They can also be incredibly overwhelming. Many teachers think SAMR is a ladder. It wasn’t intended to be. Substitution is perfectly acceptable in many scenarios. Just ask @.
But I must confess….I am guilty of using buzzwords.
…But that’s OK.
I use them to describe scenarios. I use them to make extreme points to push thinking. I want to be challenged. I want to challenge others. We all have a next step. They key is to keep an open mind and be a professional.
I also encourage you to read “My concerns with Growth Mindset” by @. She pushed my thinking just this week as we were discussing Growth vs. Fixed mindset. Sometimes a fixed mindset is the only option. Think equity and equality. I must admit, I was heavy on the Growth side.
— Alice Keeler (@alicekeeler) June 10, 2015
I suppose I should make more reference to the title of this post. Here I go again with my flip flop thinking.
I hate the word “compliance”. I also hate to use the word hate but it is inevitable when describing my gut feeling for compliance. My dog is compliant. (At least I want him to be 🙂 ). Similar thoughts on “training”.
I understand what is being suggested in Justin’s post. I believe he is trying to suggest that “traditional” classrooms of quiet desks and rows where everyone does the same task are not best practices by today’s standards in which we personalize learning and differentiate instruction. But curious & engaged students can be “compliant” too. Engaged students still follow rules and routines. After all, we need regulations for peoples’ safety.
Lastly, I encourage you to read “No Grades, No Problem” by @. Jonathan and I have become distant friends over the last few years in sharing similar “mindsets” (see what I did there? 🙂 ). In his post, he discusses the lack of report cards this year in Ontario being a non issue. And I have to agree. Why does a number dictate learning has happened, especially if the learning was personalized?
As we continue to push “21st century education” (boy, I am on fire today!), I firmly believe numerical grades are a crucial issue. Numerically, curiosity is difficult to measure. Creativity is difficult to measure. Collaboration is difficult to measure. Worksheets are simple to measure. Compliant rows of students working on spelling dictation is simple to measure. Facts and dates and regurgitation are simple to measure.
Lastly, in a giant sense of comical and hypocritical irony I am going to make reference to a previous post entitled “The Fixed Mindset of Student A and Student B” where I place all students into one of two categories. I know, right? However, my point was, and still is, generally speaking we have students who fear grades in some capacity and students who are driven by grades in some capacity. Neither of these students will take a risk because it is not safe. But we want to encourage risk taking in learning, don’t we?
To conclude, I want curious students too. I want students to inquire, be challenged, think critically and collaborate. It’s going to take some work to make this shift. We are ending hundreds of years of “best practices” and pedagogy is difficult to change.
I think we must change assessment first if we wish to accomplish anything else.
What do you think?