Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pie in the Sky

Objective: The teacher will write objectives that are observable and measurable before beginning instruction.

Education is pie in the sky if we don't do our jobs right. The process of passing down the legacy of learning and thinking is one where we literally make the intangible tangible. We are taking ideas, thoughts and concepts and placing them into the minds of our students through words, songs, discussions and lessons. This process becomes muddled when the people involved become distracted and disillusioned. Parents become distracted by test scores, students are disillusioned by edutainment, teachers are often distracted by the very task of teaching itself. Often the very nature of teaching leads us to fill time instead of using it. We have books, materials, resources but one thing we often lack: objectives. Observable and measurable objectives often seem to nag us into figuring out what it is we're trying to do the way a mother scolds her children to clean up after themselves. They nag, but yet they are needed. Unless our objectives can be seen, as in "list the wars that the Greeks had among themselves," they will never be accomplished. To seek to accomplish the goal to "understand that the Greeks had many wars," is nebulous and unattainable. I cannot know whether my students understand anything by asking them if they understand and why waste time with "many" when they can know the names themselves! This seems like semantics and nit picking, but when it comes to the education of young minds, I think the nit picking is worth it. I must accomplish my goals. They must be goals that can be accomplished in the first place. And because I am not omniscient, I must be able to observe and measure those goals and objectives. Otherwise, I'm filling up time reading a bunch of books, singing and bunch of songs and teaching nebulous lessons. Just pie in the sky.

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