[School] isn’t fantasy football! Education shouldn’t be about raising statistics. It should be about raising and fulfilling human potential. Focusing on the stats leads to a lost perspective of what is truly important— the game.
I’m feeling grateful that I can still teach children to think, to be themselves, to look for the new, to see the old in new ways, and to try. Testing for scorekeeping, for status symbolism, has made its way to Albania, but I still have the ability to reach my student’s inner risk-taking, problem-solving, creative selves. There’s so much to see and do. Preparing for my new school year has been both exciting and disappointing. The work I’m doing, with what I have, and the feats that my students will accomplish because of this work is amazingly exciting! Here’s to a new year!
Completely copy and pasted from
Burgess, Dave. Teach Like a PIRATE: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator (Kindle Locations 1734-1748). Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
THIS ISN’T FANTASY FOOTBALL Most of my friends play fantasy football. I’ve always resisted their peer pressure and refused to join in. Nothing against it… just don’t want to spend the time. This year, however, one of the dads started a kid’s league in the neighborhood and my son joined. I watched the first games of the season with my son and his friend as they followed their players; it definitely changes how you see the game. My son’s friend, Robby, is a huge Chargers fan and I watched in disbelief as he cheered after an incomplete pass from Phillip Rivers to Vincent Jackson.
We were losing the game and it would have been a touchdown for our team but Jackson and Rivers were on his opponent’s fantasy team. He was actually rooting against his beloved Chargers because the stats of individual players had become more important than the game. In fantasy football, a player’s worth is solely based on their individual statistics. Much of what makes a player great, and helps a team win, doesn’t show up on the stat sheet. The block that set up the winning touchdown? Forget about it. It wasn’t my guy who scored. Mindlessly and obsessively tracking stats can lead to a shallow view of the game.
As a basketball coach, I love to watch the player who rotates to provide defensive help, sets the proper angled screen to free up the three-point shooter, and blocks out the other team’s leading rebounder. Unfortunately, the majority of fans watching the game (and everybody reading the box score in the paper) miss these crucial elements in the win. Statistics just can’t properly measure the impact a player has on the game. The exact same principle holds true when we turn school into a twisted version of fantasy sports and over-emphasize standardized testing. An intense focus on test scores can lead to a shallow and narrow view of what is important.
I refuse to boil down the educational, growth, and development of my students into a statistic. Much of what is truly significant in the long run just doesn’t show on the “stat sheet” provided by test scores. For example, I would much rather my kids leave my class with the strength of character and courage to fight racism when they find it, than have memorized some facts about the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I’m not saying you can’t have both, I’m just pointing out that only one of those things will be measured on the test— and it isn’t the most important one.
Why have so many schools reduced the time and emphasis they place on art, music, and physical education? The answer is beyond simple: those areas aren’t measured on the all-important tests. You know where those areas are measured… in life! Art, music, and a healthy lifestyle help us develop a richer, deeper, and more balanced perspective.
Never before have we needed more of an emphasis on the development of creativity, but schools have gone the exact opposite direction in an effort to make the best test-taking automatons possible.
Our economy no longer rewards people for blindly following rules and becoming a cog in the machine. We need risk-takers, outside-the-box thinkers, and entrepreneurs; our school systems do the next generation of leaders a disservice by discouraging these very skills and attitudes. Instead of helping and encouraging them to find and develop their unique strengths, they’re told to shut up, sit down, put the cell phone away, memorize these facts and fill in the bubbles.
This isn’t fantasy football! Education shouldn’t be about raising statistics. It should be about raising and fulfilling human potential. Focusing on the stats leads to a lost perspective of what is truly important— the game. Oh, and by the way, in the game I’m talking about we are all on the same team.
Love and light to you all! Education is power.