Thursday, April 22, 2010

Our Culture of Testing...Can Creativity Flourish?

Testing Miss MalarkeyEvery year I watch the same cycle...either educators who worry about testing from day one or the ones who worry about testing six weeks prior to the date of THE TEST.  Either way the results are the same...educators worry about standardized testing.  I was reading a funny, well thought out story about standardized testing, Testing Miss Malarkey.  The story is presented from the point-of-view of the students, the actual test-takers.  They mention how the adults and even their parents started to act strange and school as they had know it...changed because of THE TEST.  In art class, they made posters about how to fill-in the circles on the test in a "good, clean, neat and nice" fashion.  In gym class, they began to practice yoga to prepare their "minds and bodies."  Parents started giving their kids power bars to build the brain.  On the day of the actual test, sick, nauseated teachers overran the nurse’s office.  And strangely enough, after the test things returned to normal...leaving the students to conclude, "THE TEST really wasn't that important after all."

The fact is we do a disservice to our students and ourselves by negating THE TEST on the surface, while allowing our actions to show that we are deeply, DEEPLY vested in testing.  Maybe it is because we do not have a better system.  Maybe we are scared to enact a better system.  Whatever the reason, if we accept standardized testing, either by conscious choice or by default, then we need to acknowledge it, accept it, BUT allow for creativity and critical thinking despite it!

The video below focuses on creativity in education.  The test-savvy philosophy advocates creativity and allowing students to be partners in the creation of content for the classroom.


Check out his book: The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Ken Robinson

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