As another semester ends, I find myself reflecting on what all these numbers, calculated to be represented by letters, really mean to me and more importantly for each of my students.
What about the average grade of this student which does not represent the intangible growth he experienced; the student who was inspired to go above and beyond an assignment to learn more for his own pleasure? Or what about this inflated grade of the calculating student which does not represent the apathy, or robotic "just enough to get the points" behaviors she exhibited?
Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted. ~Albert Einstein
What does this "A" "B" "C" really represent? Another class to check off the list? A GPA enhancer or detriment? Although I would like to radically change the system, I do not offer an alternative which would be as effective a motivator.
What I really want to know is what will a student who spent the semester enrolled in one of my classes remember next year....and the next? What did I ask a student to read/do/consider/create which might have a positive impact on his/her future? Or the students he/she will teach?
We cannot discover what ought to be the case by examining what is the case. We must decide what ought to be the case. ~Paul Taylor
How do I revise my methods to give students more autonomy and responsibility for their own learning while including accountability and motivation to attend? I am competing for the time and attention of an increasingly multitasking student in a distracting world. They are in a constant state of prioritizing tasks; often, the one with the harshest consequences for not completing rises to the top.
"The only man who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew every time he sees me, while all the rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.
~George Bernard Shaw
One of the characteristic of teaching I appreciate is the opportunity to recreate myself each semester. After a short mental escape, I will again reflect on my failures and successes to plan for a new opportunity to be worthy of the time and resources adults commit to the instruction I design. (And do this in an accelerated mode: Summer Term :-O )