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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

What do students need from 21st century teachers?

"In the current era of accountability through high-stakes testing, teachers in schools across the country often feel pressure to tailor their instruction time to accommodate test preparation." according to Roberta Ross-Fisher, Manager of Program Reporting, Compliance and Accreditation, for Western Governors University.

Students must be active participants in their own learning for their minds to fully integrate new knowledge and apply it within new contexts.

So much emphasis is put on reading and mathematics that subjects such as science and social studies can fall by the wayside. Art, music, and physical education have become marginalized, and recess is now largely a relic of the past." 

While this approach may temporarily boost test scores, it risks shortchanging today's students, who need a more well-rounded education that includes a balance of academic rigor, critical thinking, socialization, character development, citizenship, physical fitness and healthy emotional growth; in other words — an education that meets the needs of the whole student.

There are five basic principles of whole-child educational philosophy. In this model, every student in every classroom deserves to be:
  • Physically and emotionally healthy 
  • Physically, socially, emotionally, and academically safe and secure 
  • Actively engaged and connected to his or her school and community 
  • Supported and mentored by caring adults 
  • Challenged to effectively solve problems, persevere, achieve and succeed
The use of high-stakes testing as the definitive learning metric implies that standardized tests, which largely measure lower-order thinking and memorization skills, are the last word in measuring what a student has learned. As a society, we exalt these tests to our peril, potentially ignoring the dimensions of child development most likely to mold students into confident and capable adults.
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Source: The Tennessean

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