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What’s the Role of Education in an Awesome Life?

What are the implications of this:

and this:

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7 Responses to “What’s the Role of Education in an Awesome Life?”

  1. Peter Holleley February 8, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    Loved it; 18:04 minutes well spent!
    Appreciated the admonishment “Embrace your inner 3-year old”!
    The role of education in an Awesome Life? … Could we try this; remember the joys and awesomenesses of youth and help, and support others to do the same; what do you think? …
    Thanks Rick, for bringing this to our attention!
    Have a nice evening all!
    Parent Peter in Toronto

  2. Rick February 8, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

    glad you liked it. I love what he says about 3-year-olds.

  3. Gary Gruber February 9, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    Confirms my position that every day is a superb gift to be celebrated and lived fully. It could be the last day and it is certainly the first day of the rest of your life. Make the most of every day. Go ahead, just do it.

  4. Rick February 9, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    …and Gary, if every moment in school were a moment for itself, would the test scores go down? Do the present right, and the future will take care of itself.

  5. Peter (Ackerly) February 10, 2012 at 2:06 am #

    Okay I will take a stab at this. I’m seeing three questions:
    a)”Where do the video and the picture intersect?”
    b)”What’s the role of education in an awesome life?”
    and
    c)”If every moment in school were a moment for itself, would the test scores go down? ”
    I’ll pick one: c. This is something that I have posted on my company’s intranet site, but I haven’t backed it up with enough hard research, and it’s still a bit rough. So I don’t yet feel confident in publishing it.
    There are 4 kinds of assessment:
    Diagnostic — where the purpose is to determine the student’s needs vis-a-vis the particular services the assessor is able to provide.
    Graduated — where the student’s progress is being gauged, and where
    (whatever the assessor may believe he or she is doing) the real subject is the services, and the student only a lens on those services.
    Standards-based — where a third entity establishes a means of scoring performance on a set of tasks which are then used to determine the extent to which subject “measures up”: SAT, TOEFL, TOEIC, GMAT, etc.
    Coercive — where there is a perceived reward/punishment associated with ones behavior vis-a-vis the test.
    All four of these assessment types have their proper place. Regulatory auditing of company books is a coercive assessment. (In 2008, we found out that it was not coercive enough.) Without standards-based assessment, there would be no way to ensure food-safety.
    But these four assessments do not mix at all.
    The mistake that we make again and again as educators is where we try to make a single assessment event perform two of these four functions at the same time.
    The chief failings in both Bush and Obama’s education initiatives is that they take a standards-based assessment and try to use it simultaneously as a diagnostic, graduated, and coercive assessment. So it ends up being a very bad coercive assessment of teachers and school systems that drives them to behave in exactly the ways that we all know we don’t want them to.
    To give another example, when a professor assigns a term paper — however creative the assignment may be — this is a coercive assessment. A valuation lower than — what is it a B+ this days? — is a punishment, and a grade above an A- is a reward. The grade expresses nothing when it comes to a diagnosis of the student’s particular needs. And if the professor adds a lot of comments in the interests of making the assignment feel like more of a diagnostic, then the student (at least, a student that wishes to “do well in school”) will experience those comments not as valuable feedback, but as a legal case for the grade that the professor settled upon, and as a series of directives to be obeyed in the future if the student wishes to experience rewards rather than punishments.
    Coercive assessment in school? If you made any progress in education beyond — say — the first grade (this was where I myself began fairly consistently to fail) you have done so by successfully navigating coercive assessments and limiting your expenditure of energy on anything that didn’t relate in some way to successfully navigating coercive assessments.
    I am not ready to say that coercive assessment in school is wrong. As someone who still works part time in the schools, I am willing to admit that I use coercive assessment a lot. A LOT. And much of that is symptomatic of larger issues that are presently (though I am working on it, in my capacity as a consultant) beyond my control. And I do dream a world where all motivation in school is intrinsic. But I don’t know that the debate is settled as to whether that world (a Utopia where every child goes to school and applies him or herself because he or she wants to) is an unobtainable beacon we will always be merely approaching or an actual state of affairs in education that we might conceivably achieve.
    But what I DO do, and what I coach other teachers to do is to ALWAYS be assessing and to ALWAYS be conscious of what kind of assessment we are doing. If you need to run a standardized test, then just be conscious of what you are doing. You are using the standardized test to make yourself accountable to the external entities that are advocating for the standards. And it is your duty to all of your comrades — the learners, the fellow teachers, the other civic-sector stake holders — to communicate the extent to which those standards are useful to what your comrades are trying to achieve. If you are teaching children, it is your duty to make sure that they know that the standards-based assessment is not really for them, and that it says NOTHING about their viability as learners. DO NOT USE STANDARDS-BASED ASSESSMENTS to coerce. DO NOT. DO NOT USE STANDARDS-BASED ASSESSMENTS to diagnose either a child or a particular educational approach. DO NOT. Use standardized test for the purpose for which they are best suited: to begin the discussion.
    “If every moment in school were a moment for itself, would the test scores go down?”
    Nobody cares. And those that say that they do are lying …
    … or using short hand for either “would we lose our ability to coerce?” “would we lose our ability to assess the effectiveness of our particular pedagogy or allocation of resources?” or “would we lose our ability to diagnose the individual?” And THOSE are VERY GOOD QUESTIONS, because they cut to the heart of what good teaching is. Anybody with a little counseling can learn to “be in the moment,” but the reason why we have such a hard time cultivating good teachers is that we need them to be skilled at coercion, diagnosis, as well as evaluation, perfection, and management of how they coerce and diagnose.

  6. Peter Holleley February 12, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    Thank you Gary Gruber, for reminding us of these pearls of wisdom! Could we make them ‘pink pearls’ by substituting the words “every moment” or “every new moment” for “every day”? … That makes for Awesome Moments that could really be awesome, rather than Awesome Days which may not be 100% awesome.

    Rick, when you remind us to “Do the present right, and the future will take care of itself” you remind us of the Koh-i-Noor diamond … worthy of its own blog post, its own best-seller; nay, its own How To genre! … Whose going to make that happen? … (To work “the present” needs to be the present moment, each individual component of the larger task.)

    Peter (Ackerly), thank you for your scholarly words but sorry, they are too specialized for me. But I really appreciated your reminder that “Anybody with a little counseling can learn to ‘be in the moment’” … that I can work with.

    Best wishes for a great week, full of Awesome Moments!
    Montessori Parent Peter in Toronto

  7. Rick February 14, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

    Peter, H,
    Yesterday I visited a local montessori school (Prairie Flower), and saw a whole school of people being in the moment. Nice.

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