For the introductory segment of our tech task 5A, we were asked to read an article discussing the contradictory view points on drinking coffee, and essentially whether or not it will result in a longer or shorter life span. As I was reading this article, it became very apparent how one cannot believe everything they read. In addition, many times you will find that people are surprised when they hear an opposing point to a study that has been done. My question is, why are people so surprised that there is an opposing side? There will always be an opposing side. I would question that there has ever been a study/story/belief where there has been one side that EVERYONE agrees on. While I must add that without opposing sides we would not grow as a society and that there are many positive factors to having opposing sides… one being that it means we are all not robots… yet. Lastly, it apparent that it is always extremely important to learn who the source of the information is, and how credible this source may be.
For the next segment of this tech task, we were asked to dig deep into a blog post and decide and comment of what view we side with on the topic. I chose to dig deep into a post entitled, School isn’t Like a Job.
When reading this post, I found that the author made some very interesting points. Others must have also found his post to be of interest for, there were numerous comments resulting in where the conversation took off and got very interesting. This post stems from the scandal in Alberta where the teacher was suspended for giving out students’ zeros, and most importantly the reaction of the general public to this issue.
A quote that I loved from the post, which I must bring light to was, “The reward for going to school is not the grade. It’s the learning.” I love this. It would make a great “philosophy of education” quote. The problem however is, grades are an active and required element in our schools systems. If only we could have the power to eliminate the specific grades that we give to students and truly focus on the learning – what a powerful classroom that would be. However, currently that is not the case, so we must do the best with what we are given and figure out a way to use the grades in the best possible way that is meaningful for the students. A comment that another blogger left on this post also intrigued me. The individual wrote, “What does the grade communicate?” I think that this is such a powerful question. How can we use grades simply as a form of communication between the teacher and the student? How can we do this in a positive manner that will benefit the students learning experience? An example that I will use is this class ECMP 355. The grade that I will receive in this course is one that I will self-produce. What will that grade communicate to me as a student over a grade that I was given based off of three multiple choice tests? In my future I am definitely going to keep this question in the front of my mind. Whenever I am doing an assessment of any kind I will first question, what is the purpose of this assessment. By doing so that I can be sure that I am “assigning” the grade to what I was in fact assessing. Secondly, I will ask myself “what is this grade communicating to the student?” Is it doing its job?
Overall, this topic of assessment is a touchy subject with both educators and non educators. As I said previously, I also do not think it is going to be something that everyone will ever agree on. That is okay too. In fact, the disagreement, as long as it is done so in a respectful manner, will also most likely help give educators a push to continue to improve their methods of assessment. Personally, I do think that we are in need of change of grading and assessing our students in the typical way we do using one single letter to represent a wealth of work that the student has done for us. However, I also realize that this is not something that is going to change overnight. In society the way that assessment and grading is done and thought of is so very superglued into peoples’ minds, there will be a great deal of resistance. With that being said, I think that we may be closer to a change than it may seem. The fact that there re so many meaningful conversations between passionate educators regarding this topic is a huge sign that we are taking steps in the right direction.