Bringing Back Creative Teaching (by Anna Spence)

AnnaAs a parent of a second grader, I was excited to volunteer my time at his school. I was saddened to learn how much of the teacher’s time was devoted to preparing the students for the standardized tests. Gone are the days where a teacher had freedom to teach her students as they see fit. Today, we have unrealistic standards for our children to reach earlier and earlier in their school career. Teachers are being held responsible for their students tests scores. Much of the classroom time is spent “teaching to the test”, and all teachers follow the same agenda. This led me to ask,

Are Standardized Tests Limiting Our Teachers’ Creativity?

Part I: The Research

SOURCE #1

Bertram, Vince. “Let’s Make ‘teaching to the Test’ a Thing of the past | Fox News.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 16 Nov. 2015. Web. 28 Nov. 2015. <http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/11/16/standardized-testing-review-lets-make-teaching-to-test-thing-past.html&gt;. In this article, the author discusses President Obama’s recent announcement that he has directed the U.S. Department of Education “to work aggressively with states and school districts” to focus on the amount of time spent on taking and administering standardized tests. The author stresses that we have become a nation of “teaching to the test” and that teachers have lost their creative control over their classrooms. The author notes the key building blocks of a well-rounded education have been replaced with standardized tests.

SOURCE #2

“What you can do.” American Teacher Mar.-Apr. 2013: 13. Academic OneFile. Web. 28 Nov. 2015.

This article is from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), who emphasize the importance of instruction in all subject areas, as well as approaches that encourage critical thinking and deep learning. AFT is encouraging people to get involved and sign their petition to “tame the testing beast”. This is a great resource for parents who want to get involved and take action.

SOURCE # 3

Saturday Evening Post. Sep/Oct2013, Vol. 285 Issue 5, p47-49. 3p. Steven Slon is the editorial director and associate publisher of The Saturday Evening Post.

Steven Slon introduces Ken Robinson, who has TEDtalks about encouraging parents to get involved in their local schools and the administration. Taking a stand to empower the teachers and giving them back the right to teach our children in their own way.

Part II

Teachers are being stripped of their creative teaching styles. As a parent, this saddens me. I have many memories of my childhood education, I had amazing and creative teachers. I had one teacher that would come in as a character from history and she would remain in character all day. That teacher had a huge impact on my learning and my life. Standardized testing is taking this opportunity away from our children, my son. Teachers have a guideline of benchmarks children must reach. They spend the year teaching and prepping, like robots, to try and prepare students for these standardized tests.

Looking at the big picture of education, I understand the importance of assessments. I realize these assessments are crucial for both student and teacher. I want my son to be taught by a passionate, creative and dedicated teacher. What I don’t understand is the importance of these standardized tests and how they’re benefiting our youth. As of now, I feel our children are being taught by teachers that have had to conform to an agenda, stripped of their creative teaching styles all for a standardized test.

How to get involved:

Listen to some TEDtalks with Ken Robinson:

http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity

Sign the petition:

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/revoke-standardized-testing.html

 

 

 

 

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One comment

  1. Justin O

    I love the passion that you have for this subject. I have to admit that I still don’t know what the phrase “teach to the test” means. It seems like that is just a way to verify that all points that must be taught have been taught. I can see your point that it takes some control from teachers which then limits their ability to change their methods to reach a class or child.
    It seems like we need some way to verify that the kids are learning so I would have liked to have seen some alternative measuring tools. Even worse than standardized tests is kids getting passed along without gaining the knowledge they need to build on in future years.
    I remember taking the standardized tests when I was in school but I don’t remember there being much emphasis on them. When did these tests become a big deal? Are all the standardized tests mandated by the feds or state? Your blog entry has got me wondering more about these and I will be looking into this subject. I really do like your writing and I think you did a great job.

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