ARE YOU TALKING TO ME?
I don't know. Am I?
I'm still learning a lot. If I ever felt as though I knew everything, I hope I would recognize this and remind myself that I function best when in a learning state. I also, don't need to be a finger pointer. However, I know looking in the mirror is a good idea.
I think most people recognize and follow the understanding of, people do their best with what they know at the time. We can all appreciate that our beliefs might change with new information. For instance, practices in education often vary and evolve. We learn more; we change, we grow and get better as educators.
Now comes the part I don't understand. Come with me to a hypothetical scenario.
So here we have a teacher who works hard, knows and understands students to the best of one's ability, and learns that a practice, which has become ritual-like in the classroom is, in fact, damaging to students. Research has come out, the method is not only detrimental to a child's self-image as a learner in most cases, but it also gives false positive results when practiced. Meaning, an immediate result might be positive but a month or even just weeks later, the skill is non-existent, and the student is unable to build on top of the skill.
The teacher is relieved, it never felt right, to begin with. This means trying something new is appropriate. The teacher tries out some different practices and ideas. The results are mixed, and there is no immediate fix, solution, or replacement. The old practice, remember, that one found to be incompatible with the education of students, didn't get great results, but it got results that were easy to report. The teacher has mixed feelings about it but doesn't have a better idea. The students weren't showing any new understandings with the new practices, and the teacher feels as though at the very least, the old ritual practice held students accountable. The teacher wonders for a moment what other teachers might be doing to solve this problem but decides to go back to the old method. When asked why, the response is, "My students weren't being held accountable, so I went back to what I was doing before, and they are once again doing the work I need for reporting. I see growth."
I don't paint this picture to cause angst or humiliation. I do wonder though, why? Don't we know so much now? Why would we continue practices that not only make us as teachers squirm but that are unsupported? Why would we convince ourselves that something proven to be damaging is worth the risk because we haven't found something better? Can't we add YET to this statement? Why would we stop looking for the best practice out there? I realize that there are transition periods within change. So? Let's acknowledge the transition phase and keep moving toward the better alternative. Don't give up. Don't use accountability as a crutch. Don't wait for permission to try something new. Challenge yourself. Ask for help. Amazing things happen when we show our vulnerability and that we haven't got it all figured out. This opens ourselves up to new learning. It's quite exciting actually.