Are students in the United States losing their creative edge? Kelly Gallagher argues that perhaps we are. He cites a 2007 study that showed:
- The average 5th grade student receives 5 times as much instruction in basic skills as instruction focused on problem solving or reasoning. I hope you are saying, "Not in my classroom." But this is something I need to get a check up on. I want to say, "Not in my classroom," but I've never taught 5th before. This is something I'll be keeping in mind as the new year begins.
- The ratio of skill instruction to creative thinking (10:1) was the worst in first and third grades. I wonder why those two grades. They are my favorites to teach (although I'm hoping I like 5th even better). I always think of first and third as fun because there is a lot of new curriculum for students. Maybe that's the issue. Do we turn to skills based instruction when we have a lot of new content and we are worried about our students getting it all?
- Poor children were unlikely to experience classrooms with high instructional climates across multiple grades. So schools in lower socio-economic areas may get a great teacher here and there, but not consistently. That is an atrocious finding. All students, in all places, deserve the best teachers. Teachers who love their work, keep up on current research and are willing to try new things. I am always telling myself that I will know it's time to quit when I just pull out the previous year's plans and do them again. Great teachers are constantly updating their practice.
If these factors contribute not only to readicide but also to a slipping away to our creativity, then what can we do?
Inside my classroom, I will:
- Flood my students with good literature
- Be conscientious about not overteaching or underteaching a novel
- Give more time to recreational reading
- Spend more time with project-based learning, problem solving, reasoning, cooperative learning, etc. and far less time on skills based instruction
- Care less about test scores and more about creating life long learners and readers
I hope you have enjoyed this book as much as I have. If you haven't read it yet, you should consider putting it in that pile of books next to your bed. To continue on this blog hop, head on over to The Organized Plan Book for more thoughts on this chapter.
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