thoughts while proctoring a test

Perhaps the equilibrium quantity that drives classroom relationships is the desire to do the least amount of work.   Students, like the rest of us, have only 24 hours in a day and don't want to do more work than they have to, and I don't want to do their work for them.  But it is my job to get them to do the kind of work that leads to meaningful learning -- once I figure out what kind of work that is, anyway.  So if I've got to "get them to do work," I can go about this a few ways.

1.  Make it easy to do.
2.  Give grades, extra credit, additional points, candy, homework passes for following directions.
3.  Hold them accountable, ask them to show their work on paper, in presentations, in conversations, demand to see evidence of what they've done and learned.
4.  Make it rewarding with a sense of accomplishment, challenging and yet satisfying.
5.  Make it relevant, real world, problem based learning, authentic assessments.

Some of these are easy, and some of these are hard.  But everyday these are some of the choices I make, the ways I try to lead students to learning.  I hope I make the choices that lead to meaningful learning and not the ones that waste students' time.

1 comment:

  1. Nicely put.

    And here's something I've noticed: even if some new procedure or tool makes the work easier (or so it seems to us) there is resistance. We make these online games in which, if you analyze the data you naturally create in the game, you can do better. (see your #4 above). Lots of enthusiasm for the games, but even when the relevant graph is on the screen, and the graph will help them, and save them time, sometimes there just seems to be an "activation energy" or something that's hard to overcome.

    One conjecture is that if you're in school, you have this set of things you think you're supposed to do, such as write the numbers down in a table. It's easy in that you know something to do. But it's not necessarily the way to do "the least amount of work."

    Maybe the hardest work is figuring out a way to proceed.