Sometimes I feel like we treat our students as if they are brain-dead. We read sheets aloud. We edit their work. We correct their spelling and punctuation. We write the correct answers on their tests. We give them all the resources required for tasks. We meet with their parents without them being present. Why do we do these things?
When I went to school, I would have been lucky to use 20% of my brain-power. Yet, I received straight As throughout. That’s because I was obedient. I listened to the teacher and I did what I was told. I didn’t decode instructions to work out what was being asked; the instructions were read aloud and then explained to me. I never used a dictionary or thesaurus to improve my writing; the teacher did that for me. If I made a mistake on a test, I didn’t bother to work out where I’d gone wrong; the teacher wrote in the correct answer for me. My teacher worked really hard. I didn’t.
It’s no wonder students miss simple written instructions – we don’t allow them to read for themselves. I wouldn’t bother reading the instructions either if I knew someone was going to read it to me every time.
It’s no wonder students don’t edit their work – we don’t allow them to do it… Well, we do… after we’ve already edited for them. How does that make sense?
Can we ever expect students to use dictionaries and thesaurus’ or even have-a-go at spelling a word correctly when we write in the correct spelling for them?
Why do we write the correct answers on the test paper rather than allow students to have another attempt at the question in order to try and get it correct? If I was a student, this wouldn’t inspire me to get it correct the first time.
Strangely, we don’t hold students accountable for their learning; we meet with their parents without them present. That’s just weird. Imagine hearing about a meeting about that occurred without you regarding your professional development. That just doesn’t make sense.
I propose an uprising (Steve Collis – you’ll love it!).
Rather than reading instructions aloud, we allow students time to read themselves and deconstruct (and ask questions if necessary).
Rather than editing their work, let’s use some kind of line-marker that would show students there is something that needs correcting on that line. Then allow them time to find and correct it using dictionaries/thesaurus’ etc.
Rather than spending hours researching resources, let’s give the students a starting point and encourage them to conduct further research through a range of sources.
Rather than meeting without the students, let’s ensure we include students in meetings with stake-holders. Better yet, let’s encourage students to lead those meetings.
Want to awaken your brain-dead students?