*Names and identifying details have been altered to protect the innocent people who could sue me.

February 9, 2012

Connect the dots - the soap box edition

As a side note, a while ago I was reading an article that talked about the long-lasting effect of “excellent teachers.” The overall argument was something like:
Excellent teachers increase test scores.
1. Those students then go on to higher education.
2. Those students also earn more, in the long run.
3. Those students don’t get pregnant as teens.

Now, I realize that the underlying assumption of the article is that higher test scores indicate students who are more successful in life. But even were that made more explicit, I would still grade this process of analysis very low – were this one of my students – because the “connect the dots” still asks a lot of the reader. And I would suggest that a stronger, more nuanced analysis of this research might look more like this:

Excellent teachers prepare students to be informed, engaged participants in their education and life by increasing student agency, self-awareness, and confidence.
1. Those students are then able to seek out, and be successful in, higher education.
2. Those students are then able to get, and maintain, high paying jobs.
3. Those students are then able to make smart choices that demand self-respect, emotional maturity, and long-term thinking.

Soap box away now. Soon I’ll type up my student’s responses on their allusions quiz. Here’s a sample:
Q: What was Lazarus known for?
A: Shooting someone with a laser.

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