To test,or not,to Test!

This process called teaching,this ,in many ways nebulous construct,observed,tested,compared ,and in some quarters ridiculed.
If teachers appear to get a bad press ,well,that is one thing,but the issue is when teaching gets a bad press.When the explanation of fundamentals gets lost in a timetable of constant testing and the justification of those tests with the “standard”,then something is wrong.

Why,who of us wasn’t alerted to the phrase by a well meaning relative while we were at school:”Going to school will be the best days of your life”.On many levels,that is still true,as opportunities to grow as a person in a safe environment is still what every school aspires to.Why,just the safety of play with your peers allows children to experiment ,to have fun,to interchange their cultures,to learn to share,to give and take.

However,when children are only aware of passing exams ,or only told that their merit rests on the passing of these said exams,then I’m afraid that we have lost the reasons that their school days are the best.Yes,while some children excel in an environment of rigid academic rigour,others definitely do not,and it is to those pupils that we could with the best motive in the world adding to the mental health problems of so many of our teenagers.

When these children feel they have a role to play in their school that isn’t based on their achievements compared to others,then they will thrive as potential members of society,and not just another product on the conyeor belt educational sausage machine.

Sometimes,I view young children of say middle school age being bused out of our small town here in Dorset to attend supposedly “a better school”.Those children always look so very forlorn,careworn,and their countenance isn’t of the best days of their lives.That,to me,is extremely sad,and what is more,it’s worrying.

While it is very noble for children to do well at school and achieve the grades that they are able to do,it is quite another thing when their formation be years are marred by over working at school and hours of homework each night.This doesn’t really seem to be a good recipe somehow.

Now,as I write this,I’m aware that I’m not the auricle,but I have experience in teaching children going back 35years so I know I have one or two salient things to say on this subject.

If our children are not,in the whole ,happy at school then why not?That,to me ,is a fair question to ask.If our children ,even at middle school,look exhausted just going ,and coming home,then why is that the case?

Could it be that they don’t find their learning engaging,or fun,or interesting.Believe me,if we are constantily being tested all the time ,then that must be exhausting in itself and ,dare I write it,counterproductive.

No,I say inspire them ,teach them principles ,tools for further thought,expand their minds,and do it in the early years ,resisting the pressures to hot -house them into becoming exam machines.

It surely is ,or should be that being young can offer us so many opportunities to grow as a person,and to grow in safety.

This is my blog post for today as the spring term trundles on up to half term,as the next few weeks the pressures on out young ones will surely increase up to their examinations.

Thank you for your attention.
Kernowsmith.

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