Good Afternoon Brittany,
I hope you had a great break and you are ready to get back into the swing of things!
I really enjoyed the resource Rhonda showed us on Power School. This is the first time I have seen anything like it. I think it is a great way in allowing parents to monitor their children. What did you think of Power School? Have you ever seen it before?
I also enjoyed our discussion around chapters 9 and 10. I liked how Rhonda used envelopes filled with different questions to answer in regards to the chapters we read. It was nice to be able to pick what question we wanted to answer. I thought this would be a great classroom strategy, and one I would use within my own classroom. One topic we discussed about at our table was Parent Teacher Interviews that are lead by students and teachers. This is something I have never experienced but think its a great idea in getting guardians and students involved. Obstacles that may be faced includes guardians or students not showing up to the meeting. Some students may show up, but their parents don’t. This can be very discouraging for students who see other guardians involved and theirs aren’t.
Another interesting topic we talked about was traditional grades and how they likely lead to three results which include less impressive learning, less interest and less desire for challenging learning. Kohn (1999) recommends that if you have to give grades, give as few as possible. He believes that grades limit students learning. I know that from previous experience and my own we can get caught up in grades. We believe that a grade illustrates how “smart” we are. In high school I was very much so grade orientated. I believe anything under 80 wasn’t good enough, and I took it very personal. Being used to receiving high marks in high school, the transition to University was very difficult. The first mark I received was a 60 and it was very discouraging, and I was second guessing my choices of going to University and whether I was going to make it through or not. However, I have learnt that grades are just grades and it comes down to my learning progress and how I have improved in my professional development. What is your experience with grading? Are you grade orientated?
Another thing from the previous discussion lead us to talk about whether High school is preparing us for University. I believe that it all depends on the school and the individual. One may argue that students are being taught to prepare for University, but what about for life skills? Not everyone goes to University, and it is important that we are preparing students for both University and life. When it comes to final exams, I believe that this can be beneficial. Being able to take a test in high school may benefit those who have test anxiety, and may have to write many tests in University. However, one thing I found was many of my tests in high school was either multiple choice, or our teachers provided us with the questions that were going to be on the test and we were able to memorize the answer rather then really know the content. I think this effected the way I learned in University and I felt behind in my learning process. I have learnt through experience now how to study and how to effectively apply the knowledge I am learning to different situations. What is your experience with final exams, and how do you feel about them?
As a future educator I really question they way students are being prepared for life beyond high school. As teachers are we fully preparing our students?
Here is an interesting article “The Case Against Grades”, this is by Alfie Kohn. He talks deeper in to the effects of grading and why grading is problematic. It is an interesting read, and I hope you enjoy it!
Here is the link: http://www.alfiekohn.org/article/case-grades/