The article we got to read was The Testing Charade: Pretending to Make Schools Better. by Koretz. The article had multiple points but in all it was about test prep in schools and how it has changed the way teachers teach information. Diving a little deeper, our group focused on three points that the article talked about, these were reallocation between subjects, reallocation within a subject, and coaching. All three were different ways teachers try to help students perform well on standardized tests.
Reallocation between subjects is when teachers cut subjects that will not be on the test to focus on other subjects that will. Reallocation within a subject is when a teacher cuts things within a subject to focus on the things that will be on the test. Coaching is when the teacher focuses on tips and tricks that will help the students on the test as a way to pass by not knowing all the content. Reallocation between subjects is a problem because it takes away from other subjects within schools and this affects kids’ learning for the coming years. Reallocation within a subject is a problem because it causes kids to not learn all of the material within a subject which can cause them to be behind for the next year. Coaching is just another way of getting kids to look for the easy way to get the right answer rather than truly learning the concept. Though these are the problems with these concepts there are many other factors that are in place that cause teachers to resort to these.
Standardized testing, the boogie man when it comes to schools. Standardized testing has become a hot topic for a while now because of its impact on schools staying open and teachers teaching. The push to make sure kids do well on these tests just so these schools can stay open then pushes teachers to resort to these teaching methods. Not all school districts use these methods or implement them at the same level though. Just looking at my own experiences I was blessed to have a school where we really did not do any of these things and just followed through the subjects. There are probably a lot of reasons for this but in the end the culture of my school was one that was good and really pushed kids to do well. Now just thinking about a failing school and seeing them have to push all of these concepts to stay a float makes me hurt for the kids and teachers. The article touches on many good points about the problems with focusing on just these tests and how it hurts the kids and teachers as stated prior, but I do believe tests like the ACT and SAT are good. These tests put all the kids on an equal playing field when it comes to college emissions because everyone takes the same test. GPA on the other hand is very different school to school and not every GPA is equal across the board. I do not know how to fix the problem at hand when it relates to testing in schools, but I do think the more schools can grow a good culture it will help lead to teachers just being able to teach and hit those marks without trying.
When it came to teaching the information we used the three points stated before and explained them and gave examples of what they are. Before we started though we gave the students tests on the water cycle and at the end we had them draw out the water cycle. This was to show that there are multiple different ways to show understanding of a topic instead of just a test. At the end of the day we wanted the students to understand that there is more than just one way to show understanding and that standardized testing can cause teachers to have to focus on just teaching for the test. I explained coaching and its negative impacts on kids when it relates to their understanding of a topic.
In conclusion I thought the article was a reminder of the struggles teachers have to go through order to do well on these tests. It also reminded me of how lucky I was to grow up where I did because this was just not that big of an issue. Finally, it also makes me excited to be in this field even more because I am always up for a challenge and right now coking up with solutions for this issue is a major challenge in schools today.
Our reading was Education in the Progressive Period by Janak Edward and it was about basically the development of the progressive period in education. To be more specific the time period this reading is exploring is 1890-1920 which was the start of the progressive era. The progressive era was a period of widespread social activism and political reform across the United States of America. This of course included the ideas of how to better educate kids in the classroom and help better prepare them for life. Our group is LC four and we had the opportunity to do the current connection for this reading.
The reading by Janak Edward was really eye opening and helpful to understand the ideas of the progressive era and to see how it all started. There were multiple themes that the author talked about and I will talk about three specifically. Firstly, there is just the idea of progressive teaching and just a background of the major people who impacted the ideas that surround it. These people include names like Dewey, Locke, Darwin, and many others. Basically their different ideas helped form the thoughts of progressive teaching and ultimately shaped their main point which is “learning how to learn is more important than knowing a set of specific facts” (Edward 46) this main point can be seen in their approaches in teaching. Secondly, student centered learning was a big focus on the specific way to approach how best to push for progressive teaching. This can be seen in the curriculum that progressives wanted to push for a more student centered design that helps teach the kids what they need to know for their future. Lastly, the author talks about another way progressives wanted to help students and this was through extracurricular activities. By the end of the progressive era extracurricular activities become a major part of helping kids grow as people. Just thinking about today, so many kids are involved in many types of extracurriculars and all of these help students grow socially among their peers.
Diving a little deeper into the specific theme of student centered learning I went out and found an article that connected to this theme and really helped me see the positive impact of this era on today. The article was Students at Center of Yakima School District Strategic Plan by Janelle Retka. This article was published on January 14th 2020 and was really interesting to see how school districts use the idea of student center learning. Just to give a quick summary of the article, basically the main point is that within this school district they used student feedback to help change the way they teach and what they teach to better prepare kids for the future. Tying this to the initial reading was pretty easy, this was because the school district did exactly what the reading talked about. The reading talked about the importance of integrating the students’ needs and the article from today implemented the use of learning the students needs to teach in a more effective way. Both this article and the assigned reading helped affirm my ideas on how important teaching is and how effective good teaching can be. It all really pushed the idea of meeting students at the door and really helping with their needs as students more than my needs as teacher. In today’s world the concept of getting everything for yourself and leaving others behind is very evident and these readings help challenge that.
In conclusion the reading helped me gather a new perspective on school today and how we got there. This new perspective is something that hopefully will help me as a teacher in my future classroom. Whether that is meeting kids at the door so they know that I am here for their needs or pushing them to grow as people in other aspects that are not just school. I am thankful for this reading because it also helped me develop new ideas on how to teach best when it comes to keeping students at the center. As future teachers, we need to understand that we are going to be in a profession where we need to be leaders to the kids we are teaching and most importantly be helpers in everything they do. It is a blessing to have such a big impact on students’ lives and understanding that we get to teach more so then we have to teach is something I am personally very excited for. In the end the impact of the progressive era was a positive one and hopefully we can still learn from it to better improve teaching and learning.
Hello, my name is Zach Walsh and I am from Granville, Ohio. I am a Sophomore here at John Carroll and want to teach high school history. I am on the football team here at JCU. The Bible is essential to my interests because of the life of Jesus and how his life impacted those around him and how his still impacts people today. Nothing specific just people willing to have a good time in the classroom. The times I have done the best in a class are when I feel comfortable to talk and express my self.
Hello, my name is Zach Walsh and I am from Granville, Ohio. I am a Sophomore here at John Carroll and want to teach high school history. I am on the football team here at JCU. The Bible is essential to my interests because of the life of Jesus and how his life impacted those around him and how his still impacts people today. I enrolled in the CHUH School District Options Program. Nothing specific just people willing to have a good time in the classroom. Classes I have done the best in are classes where I felt included. I think one of the biggest issues in education right now is the want to motivate kids to be the best version of themselves.