Reading the article “9 Elephants in the (Class)Room That Should ‘Unsettle’ Us” brought to light many of the issues present in our classrooms and in the education system as a whole. It discusses everything from the obsession with grades to forgetting content after tests. These are the two elephants that stood out to me and I would like to discuss them further.
Elephant 1: We know that most of our students will forget most of the content that they “learn” in school.
This elephant in the room holds so much truth to it. Students are forgetting what they are learning soon after they learn it. Students are jam-packed with information and do not feel they have the capacity to retain it all. That is where the issue comes in. Students are not learning and retaining the information, they are looking over and memorizing what they need for a particular test or activity. We should be teaching students to retain what they learn not simply memorize it for the sake of a test. As a future adult, parent, learner, and teacher, I think it is important to make time to review what is learned consistently. That would be in a perfect world, but the truth is we forget what we don’t use.
Elephant 5: We know that grades, not learning, are the outcomes that students and parents are most interested in
This particular elephant is one that caught my attention because I know personally how obsessed students and parents are with grades. If you read my previous blog post this week you know my sister is one of those students who are obsessed with the grade. These students only care about getting a good grade and do not necessarily care about if they are actually learning. This is because we have led them to believe that grades are the most defining thing in your life and your future. And they are…to an extent. What good is a grade if you don’t have the knowledge to go with it? This is what those students do not realize and we must fix change.
There is also a clear connection between these two elephants. Students are doing just enough to pass the test and get the grade. I believe student learning should be more important than the grade. Students learn better when they are interested and engaged, but they are not interested or engaged when they are obsessing over grades or passing a test. Our education system has to change.