This is a response, with all due respect, to Children and Cardboard Boxes written on August 20, 2010 – 5:02 pm | by Shelly Terrel on the wonderful education blog Teacher Reboot Camp. Please read Shelly’s post, it’s brilliantly written.
I like the sentiment of your post. I tweeted a number of quotes from it, in fact. I loved your clever use of transferring from one box of pure imagination to the imprisoning box of school walls. It reminded me of a shocking quote I’ve heard attributed to Martin Luther King Jr. “Public school is 12 years long because that’s how long it takes to break a child’s spirit.”
However, I’ve also heard it said that in our society “the scientific method is the new God.” This seems true. This is the reasoning behind the universally despised standardized tests (do we know ANYONE who is says, “Wow! Isn’t it great how well these NCLB tests are working out!?!”). We need to measure and quantify the progress and current knowledge of our students, because that is just how things if we want to be “scientific.”
Thus, without throwing out the scientific method, and thus our society, which ironically has lead to the advent of most resources mentioned that teachers must utilize to spread seeds of change, what options are we left with?
I believe the answer is the solution to most of life’s problems: compromise.
Yes, sadly, we must keep the tests. However, our challenge is to improve them. This is already happening, albeit very slowly. The addition of essays is a relatively new. Surely a step in the right direction compared to the previous decade’s tests with ONLY multiple choice tests, right? We must push to make the tests measurements of things that COUNT (all teachers know the difference between merely “test prep skills” and quality learning).
Also, we must transform our test preparatory lessons (which, like it or not, are a must in most public schools) into fun, interesting, rich, dynamic, empowering, QUALITY lessons that teach necessary test prep skills AT THE SAME TIME. This is the challenge of the new generation of teachers.
Of course we can do it! I know because myself and a few colleagues do it almost everyday in class. I can tell you are passionate about education too, so I’m sure you do it as well.
I am new to blogging (started two weeks ago) but I look forward to reading and responding to the thoughts of you and your subscribers as we all learn to fix our cardboardbox-less school system TOGETHER.