Nuts

It’s nuts when a teacher depends on the scores of a kid on a standardized test for their sense of professional self worth. Many kids are not motivated because they are simply too young to appreciate what is being offered to them. Tests should not be looked at as accurate barometers of progress in language for that simple reason (and many others). Tests taken by unmotivated kids cannot possibly be accurate. Yet teachers go about worrying how their students perform on those tests. That really is crazy! Better to evaluate our performance on the amount of light coming out of our kids’ eyes during class. Somebody should invent some kind of Eye-Ometer or something. Or a Smile-Ometer. Sounds crazy, but it’s not. It sounds crazy because the people in charge of testing and teaching of foreign languages don’t understand how happiness affects learning.

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5 thoughts on “Nuts”

  1. “It sounds crazy because the people in charge of testing and teaching of foreign languages don’t understand how happiness affects learning.”
    Well said, Ben!!

  2. Yes. Yes. Yes.
    “Many kids are not motivated because they are simply too young to appreciate what is being offered to them. Tests should not be looked at as accurate barometers of progress in language for that simple reason (and many others). Tests taken by unmotivated kids cannot possibly be accurate. Yet teachers go about worrying how their students perform on those tests. ”
    And in my case, I go about worrying how to design a test that will yield “data”. I don’t know how to do this, and I know I can’t (because I just “know” and thank goodness BVP pretty much said this explicitly a couple episodes ago…where he said “there is no such thing as an 88 or a 98 in speaking” I am paraphrasing, but he simplified assessment to 0-1-2 can’t do, can do with help, can do independently). Yet we are required to devise these complicated rubrics when it is just not that complicated. Grr. I don’t have energy for so much time devoted to designing stuff that is false.
    And ultimately it all depends on happiness. Mine and the students and mine and the students. In a cycle, right? And some of them are just not ready for this. And so maybe I am not ready to deliver the “goods” in a way that gets them ready???

  3. At the very least, observers need to be aware that the smiles, laughs, other emotional reactions (like “oh no!” and gasps) show students are acquiring language. Is it on the observation rubric that Susie Gross, then Bryce Hedstrom, designed? I forget.
    It’s such a data-driven educational environment right now. It’s frustrating, and I hardly have the pressures that many do who are in public schools, getting reviews and evaluations based on kids’ standardized test scores.

  4. I love to fake my kids out. I cue them to do the “oh no!” and gasps when I know they don’t understand what I just said. They have to admit it and do the stop sign instead. It’s a little game we play within the larger game.
    Kind of unrelated, but I just have to say again and again how REAL stories are to kids, and how much of the other stuff, as great as it is to deliver good high quality CI, doesn’t hold a candle to the power of stories. Just have to say that again. I am seeing it more this year than ever before and especially with sixth graders, whose imaginations are far more interesting (read “not yet destroyed”) than older kids and yet who are old enough to get into it.

    1. Yes! All hail the middle school mind! A tangled, swampy, primordial mess of what it means to be human. My people, ahh.

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