So, I am being cheeky and using this post to tick ALL 3 boxes of the blogging challenge. Does this mean I get credit for all 3????
Credit farming breaks my heart. It actually makes a little piece of my happy teacher persona die. Unlike fairies, no amount of clapping will bring it back. Because to me, when a students says ‘I’m not going for these credits so I am not doing this’ or ‘is this worth credits’ or ‘why are you telling us about this if it isn’t in the exam’ or I already have 80 credits so do I REALLY need to do this’ they are telling me they don’t love learning, they don’t love Science (I am baised, but how could you not love Science) and that they are settling for less.
The affect of assessment is really starting to get me down. I blogged about this in April this year during the #edchatNZ chat on innovative assessment. I was getting soooo super frustrated with myself and my thinking about the role of assessment in schools (and life). In the conversations I have (online and F2F) we dream so big about cross curricular, real life, meaningful learning. And then I am really struggling to turn this in to meaningful programmes. I am really jealous of Matty Nicoll’s Nature of Science course that he has built. But when we were planning our next #scichatNZ topic (which will ROCK by the way) I had to admit that I had never even considered a cross curricular approach for my senior classes.
Thinking about this over the last couple of days (while being sad I wasn’t at Ulearn) I have tried to piece together into my head why I had never considered a ‘blended’ approach for Yr 12 & 13s. Sure, I could mix a course in with Biology and do an awesome health sciences type course. I could even do some earth/ocean Science papers with some physics and chem. But they are all Science. What would I need to do to incorporate other curriculum areas? I have a hard enough time understanding the Chemistry Standards and what is required, much less an English Standard. Or a Geography or Language one. This too came up in a recent #edchatNZ, and I love Danielle Myburghs post on subject teacher identity crisis
To get credit for the blog challenge, here is a pic (not a selfie, I’m so not trendy) of me, Matt and Jennie – Jennie is a #scichatNZ team member too
But in ‘real’ life, the ability to have multiple skill sets is in demand. I recently read ‘too big to know‘ (after a recommendation from the fabulous Danielle Myburgh I saw on twitter) which challenges what we define as knowledge in the digital age, and something that really struck me from this book was the use of crowd sourcing for data analysis and/or solving complex problems. It is easier than ever before to use a network of knowledge rather than single sources. Yet, we still teach in single silos….
And for a different perspective, my Dad came round to teach me how to fix our (Lovely) old, slightly cracked window frames. Another friend on mine who lives in a similarly enchanting cottage came round so she could learn to. And my Dad said
‘well, knowledge isn’t really knowledge till you have shared it’
Which hit my brain like a hammer.
Giving my students ‘exam’ like assessments isn’t getting them to share their knowledge. Yes, they can jump through a hoop, and get the marks and because they get the marks they make me look good and everyone is happy. Except that little part of me that thinks ‘surely there is more to learning at school than getting credits.’
So how can I challenge myself and my students to share their knowledge in more meaningful ways? How can I gently disrupt (Or as the amazing Philippa puts it ‘disrupt with Humility’) my parent community away from the need for credits credits credits? How can I rudely disrupt the teaching practice of some of my colleagues and get them to think outside the box? Or the Ministry of Educations stance of using success for funding (I’m not sure what I will do if they go for a more credits = more money scenario…..)
And how can I get my students to love learning for learnings sake. To be more interested in the world around them, more empathetic with the views of others, more critical of marketing techniques trying to manipulate their choices and more aware of the society and communities they live in.
How can I find a way to give them credit for that?