This topic has been floating around my mind a lot lately. I have been reading/rereading some posts from George Couros that have been messing with my mind, in a good way.
Here is one of his posts that deal specifically with whether we can be both data and child driven. His short answer is no. In fact, he even suggests that “Data Driven is the stupidest term in education. We are child-driven.”
Part of me just wants to post his whole article to the blog. Now, you will not like this if you really want to be data-driven. (And I remember that was one of the major buzzwords even 15 years ago).
As Couros suggests, data is not horrible, but we should not be driven by it. Student learning is far more important and it is not always measurable.
How many teachers remember a time or two when we have worked with a student and they have that magic lightbulb moment, where, for some reason, the light comes on and they just get it? That is far more exciting than a number on a test. When we are driven by the numbers, it is easy to forget the real life human behind it.
I prefer the term “child-driven, evidence-informed”. The term “evidence” is much more encompassing, not necessarily by definition, but in how we use the words in education. Evidence is that amazing concert, the interaction we see in the hallways, the conversations we have with one another, that can’t be boiled down to a letter or number. Using that to inform what we do to serve the child is crucial to the growth of the individual, the educator, and the system as a whole.- George Couros
Yes! Behind all data is a child and behind that, a story. If we forget that, we are doing a disservice to our kids. If my kids are growing and learning, even if it doesn’t fit the ultimate data goal, I am happy and proud. These students are my kids, my family, for 10 months out of the year. I will not…I cannot, reduce them to a number.
Learning is not always easily measurable. But it doesn’t mean it’s not happening. The learning and often the things that are most meaningful are not always easily measurable.
I leave you with this from George:
If one day, before you became a teacher, you thought to yourself, “Do you know what I would like to do one day? Test kids.”, There might be something wrong.
It is not always a dichotomy but if you have to choose between the child and the data, choose the child. Between the learning and the test scores, choose the learning.
I have been on an interesting learning journey myself, many years in the making so I don’t say this to say I have made it, but it is increasingly something I am passionate about-student learning. Because that matters far more than a test score.
What do you think?