I Should have Answered the Question like This…

Do you remember those handheld games, that didn’t have to be recharged. You hold it in your hand, and beneath the clear plastic, there are these little bee-bee looking balls rolling around on the face of a clown, and there are holes in the clown’s eyes, ears, and his bow tie. You task is to tilt the the game in order to get the bee-bees to roll into the holes. Well this is how my brain works. If you want me to come up with a good answer, you have to give me some time to roll the balls around, so that they will find their holes.

Chris Walsh asked, during our Saturday CUE conference webcast interview, “How do we reconcile today’s technologies with the accountability and high-stakes testing environment?” As I reported yesterday from the airport, I gave the standard good teaching, staff development, and appropriate technologies routine. I also explained that we have three basic questions that we address in the process of educating.

  1. What do we teach?
  2. How do we teach it?
  3. How well have we taught?

In recent years, we have been focused on the third question, “How Well?” It’s an essential concern, and it’s universal. However, it is a premature question. At this moment in history, when technology has taken a major leap forward, the nature of information has changed, and nearly every other aspect of how we live seems in flux; it seems that the “What?” question is where our focus should be. What do children need to be learning to adapt and prosper in a time of rapid change.

When we have figured that out, then we determine the “How?” question. In what kind of classrooms will students learn, from what kind of teachers, and within what kind of learning experiences?

When we have answered those questions, then we can come back to, “How Well?”

I guess I should have said, “Would you mind rephrasing that question, Chris?”

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.