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    The Atlantic | Erika Christakis | 11/10/20 | 13 min
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    The Atlantic
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    • jeff
      Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
      1 week ago

      Really excellent article! The author totally nails it. I love the emphasis on the benefits of learning outdoors which is something I've never heard of before. The pause on mandatory testing is another great idea. Experimentation is needed. The road we are heading down is a dark one.

      One of the many ironies of contemporary education is that as we learn more about the importance of emotional connection and face-to-face communication in early brain development, we seem ever more invested in technological quick fixes—“self-monitored” math lessons on iPads and the like—that take young children away from the adults charged with teaching them. What parents are seeing on Zoom is not a radical departure from what goes on in regular pre‑K and elementary-school classrooms, but rather a virtual extension of that.

      • Peachy1 week ago

        Having taught high school English for twenty-six years, I witnessed the continued emphasis on assessments and teaching—most which had to be exactly the same as the teachers in their discipline. Emphasis on work done solely on computers led to a dry experience. Students complained that all they did was work on computers in every class. Personally, a student drive curriculum seemed the best method: let the students arrive at their own essential questions and foster meaningful discussions. Yet continued pressure from parents and administration to reach x number of grades and to be sure no students fail—because students don’t fail—wore me down. No accountability for students made the job impossible. My most rewarding days were those when meaningful and lively discussions took place, when the light bulb moments occurred, and when a student hung around after class to discuss the day’s lessons. I feel for my former colleagues who say students simply don’t show up for Zoom classes. I’m certain teachers will be having to ring those students Doorbells soon. When all is said and done, perhaps parents can truly discover what a teacher “does” all day long. It isn’t what is done on Zoom. It’s the best profession in the world and one of the most difficult.

        • SEnkey
          Top reader this weekScoutScribe
          1 week ago

          You deserve a medal for teaching twenty-six years! Thank you for your years of service to our children. I can't agree more, testing has taken over education and displaced everything else. I taught high school history and I found I had way more latitude (though not as much as you would hope) than many of my colleagues because....no one cares about history. There wasn't a state assessment at the end for most of the courses, so no one cared how my kids did. I did lose days of instruction to practice tests, re-assessments, etc (although I did lose days of instruction to the school wide assessment days). This gave me way more time to spend with the sophomore who still didn't know what a paragraph was, or the freshman who still struggled to read, and on and on. It also gave me more time to make my discipline interesting. Getting rid of standardized tests doesn't magically fix all the problem we have in education, but it is a big and good first step.

    • SEnkey
      Top reader this weekScoutScribe
      1 week ago

      I love everything about this article. A thousand amens!

      But the more we ask schools to expand beyond their core mission, the harder it becomes to discern which aspects of schooling are educationally effective. Schools can and should help mitigate harm to disadvantaged kids, but they cannot be a panacea for children in dangerous or neglectful home environments. Issues like livable wages and the absence of affordable child care are distinct from questions about learning, and we can’t keep commingling them.

      I was a high school history teacher and then an assistant principal and then an elementary school principal. The biggest challenges had nothing to do with how to educate kids - although they shouldv'e!!! The challenges were around testing, testing, testing, and all the other things we needed to do. All the other needs that had to be met. I came to that same realization, the more I asked my teachers to do, the less effective they were at their core jobs. It's time to rethink how we educate, it's also time to rethink how and where we meet these needs.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        1 week ago

        Ha! Yes. I agree - "A thousand amens!" is exactly right. Happy to bump this one up. It deserves AOTD for sure.