I speak and write a LOT about the need for change in public education — necessary change because we haven’t yet met every child’s potential. That might be an unreachable target, but it doesn’t mean we should give up trying to be better than we are today.
I’m not naive to the notion that my desire for change might leave a perception of ‘doom and gloom’ about public education — that we aren’t doing anything correct at the moment.
And that’s simply not true.
I am proud of many things that we are currently doing in our schools, primarily due to the efforts from our teachers and administrators — true innovators in our system.
Wait a minute! Teaching less is a good thing?
Let’s be careful in what is actually being said here. Teaching is an EXCELLENT thing to do. If we didn’t teach adequately our students would not learn sufficiently. But, what Grant Wiggins is trying to stress is that FEEDBACK is one of the strongest correlates to student success. And not just a letter grade or percentage, but critical feedback that helps the student learn from their mistakes so that they can focus on personal improvement.
Nobody gets better by just seeing a ‘B’ on their paper, lab report or report card. What makes us improve our learning is the opportunity to understand what we didn’t fully succeed at, be given an opportunity to refine our learning and perhaps demonstrate our mastery of the topic again.
I remember sitting in a meeting where we were talking about feedback, student mastery of material and grading. The speaker asked us to step out from our ‘classroom comfort zone’ and think about … parachute packing.
OK. Why not?