Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Making Connections: Standardized Tests and Intellectual Curiosity

I personally have never seen a student that was not curious about something. I have seen many students who have suppressed their curiosity when they enter school to such an extent as to be nearly undetectable, but it is still there. Human beings are hardwired to be curious and being curious is a major activity of childhood and young adulthood (and yet recently more and more students would rather be curious-looking).

So if we notice students are not curious in our classes, then we should first look at what we are doing, or not doing, that might cause this to happen. Of course I have some suggestions of places to inspect first.
Ben Johnson's post in Edutopia will cause you to stop and think about how you approach your instruction during the upcoming academic year.  I particularly like the following quote from Johnson:
Although we have a long way to go yet, at least the state standardized testing sets minimum standards for teachers to attain (notice I did not say students). The main hurdle now is to get teachers to quit teaching right up to the minimum standards, but instead, to inspire learning beyond the them.
And this quote from Daniel Willingham in his book entitled, "Why Don't Students Like School?"
Memory is the residue of thought.
I hope you will take the time to read the rest of the article and to "inspire learning beyond" the minimum standards.

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