Teaching to the Test

How do you relate the development of measurable goals and objectives to effective teaching?

The answer to this question entirely depends on how one defines effective teaching.  If one is a NCLB essentialist, the measurable goals and objectives are whatever the essential body of knowledge is deemed to be.  However, I am not an essentialist.

With apologies to Yeats, I believe that education is the filling of the pail and the lighting of the fire[1].  I believe the most important objective of teaching is to kindle the love of learning in each student.  This requires teaching to their souls, their passions, their interests.  That usually means finding that relevance in the required body of knowledge, but it also includes finding extra material that meets the needs of the curriculum and the students interests.

On the other hand, I know that we live in an essentialist world and to ignore the press of standards and standardized tests is of service to no one.  My intended solution is to “teach to the test” as a creative act. I will teach and drill both the test’s contents and the skill of how to take tests as a subset of the year’s learning.  Hopefully, simultaneously embracing the need for such teaching while rigorously narrowing focus of this teaching to succeeding on the tests will free considerable classroom time for lighting the students’ imaginations with learning of a more nourishing kind. 


Famous quotes by William Butler Yeats. (1998-2010). Retrieved January 26, 2010, from http://www.famous-quotes.com/author.php?aid=7889

[1] “Education is not the filling of the pail, but the lighting of the fire” (“Famous Quotes”, 1998-2010).

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