Chomping gum, the phrase “same difference” or interrupting others, we all have our own pet peeves. As an English teacher, I have plenty that deal with written language: confusing its/it’s would be a perfect example. But the frustrations about teaching practices are much more important and potentially damaging.
Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results may not be the actual definition of insanity, but it is certainly not best practice! This is why I find it increasingly amazing the more I hear this quote: “I don’t know why my students did so poorly on the test; I gave them all the answers the day before! All they had to do was study!”
Now besides the point that this is, as some would say, a sign of insanity, where is the learning? Where is the problem solving? Why are our students being asked to remember exactly what was told to them the day before? We are developing regurgitators!
The more we continue in the evolution of teaching and facts become less important, our students should be problem solvers, not fact or equation rememberers. We have a chance to get students to engage like never before. The possibilities are endless. The world is their oyster. But time and time again, students are asked to memorize a way to do something and spit it back out on a test.
The more of a challenge, inquiry or problem we give to students, the more likely they are to do the assignment. This type of learning is more likely to be seen as authentic and will engage young people in a way that remembering one way to solve a problem for the test the next day cannot.
Let’s stop giving answers to students and start challenging them to come up with the answers. Better yet, let’s ask students to invent answers!