Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Summer Reading Response

I find readings such as these to be such wonderful reminders of why I teach and what I still need to work on to support my students and engender proactive, positive, thoughtful global citizens. 

Over the course of the readings, there were two quotes that really jumped out at me, one by Fernando Reimers and one by Howard Gardner.  First, Reimers writes, "It is important to gain knowledge and the capacity to act in ways that engage the students' moral reasoning skills and in ways that motivate them to act and to assume personal responsibility for their actions in the global realm."  I feel that this really sums up so much of the work that I do as a Lower School teacher.  The majority of my day is spent helping children make sense of a world that is largely unfamiliar to them.  I think that I have always focused solely on how their actions affect the people closest to them (i.e. family, friends, members of the school community), but I realize that I also need to make a conscious effort to provide a more global perspective to the conversation and provide my students the opportunity to think about how are their actions affecting the world at large.

In the preface to the Asia Society publication, Gardner writes, "Innovations are tolerated as long as they lead to adequate performance on traditional measures."  What interesting words!  I had never thought about it before, but he is most certainly right.  And yet, how innovative are these advancements if we are able to evaluate them based on our norm?  Shouldn't innovations push us beyond our realm of understanding?  Shouldn't they make our "traditional measures" seem obsolete and ineffective?  And why are we striving for adequacy in the first place?  Isn't that setting the bar embarrassingly low?  I am forced to think about the myriad ways in which my students respond to comprehension questions, demonstrate their understanding of a math problem, or endeavor to compare and contrast various cultures.  They are approaching all of this material devoid of bias and with immeasurable curiosity.  Have I been appreciating and encouraging their innovative thinking as much as I should be or have I been evaluating based on what I already perceive to be the truth?  Certainly something to think about as I proceed with caution.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.