The Most Appealing Ideas Expressed by the Author
Assessment and grading are recognized as some of the most complex and challenging practices in teaching. There exist many different approaches to these tasks. Also, throughout the history of education and pedagogy, the perspectives on the role of grading and assessment have changed several times. Today, there are many different types of assessment oriented at various goals.
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The book Grading Smarter, Not Harder: Assessment Strategies That Motivate Kids and Help Them Learn by Myron Dueck is focused on helping educators make sense of the overwhelming number of different grading and assessment approaches and enables them to choose them correctly for the better benefits.
One of the ideas that could be highlighted in this book is the insight about the importance of learning that exceeds that of grades. In particular, elaborating on this idea, Dueck specified that today grades are treated as the indicators of students’ academic performance when, in reality, grades could carry nothing but disinformation if the teacher used an inappropriate method of assessment.
Another very interesting idea explored by the author is the meaning and impact of grades received by students. In particular, Dueck noted that they could influence the relationship between teachers and students, students and parents, and teachers and parents. This phenomenon is known well in the field of education; however, the author’s decision to make it one of the factors considered in the evaluation of the assessment practices really shows his learner-centered approach.
The Implications of the Ideas in the Book for Me as an Educator
The book by Dueck helped me expand my view of grading and assessment as integrated into the process of students’ learning. To be more precise, the author contrasted between the practices of teaching with those of coaching and noted that the latter were more orientated towards the achievement of certain goals and based on the motivation of the trainees. At the same time, in learning there is an unconscious expectation that the teacher’s job is to deliver the material, and the students’ job is to master it and be able to apply it during a test. Very little encouragement and inspiration lies in the forms of teaching that are used by the educators driven by such expectations.
For me as an educator, the implications of reading this book include the establishment of a holistic understanding of assessment and grading, the potential transformation of my vision of assessment and its purpose, and the consequent adjustment of the practices used on a regular basis for the purpose of turning them into encouraging and inspirational activities instead of demonstrative ones.
Also, there is more than one perspective on grading. Usually, the grades are assigned by the teacher taking into consideration his or her opinion only; however, Dueck pointed out that very often teachers can be wrong about the grades they give. Moreover, only an appropriately selected and conducted assessment will show the accurate results; and for the assessment to be appropriate, an educator has to consider multiple factors such as timing, length of the test, its complexity, uniqueness, suitability for the assessed group of learners, as well as for the activities under evaluation, to name a few. As a result, reading this book can be aligned with an implication that I would have to assess my own knowledge of grading and coach myself to practice accurate assessment for the purpose of becoming a better professional.
The Ideas That I Challenge
It was difficult to identify the ideas in this book that I could challenge. In that way, I would like to mention the concept of time as applied to the duties and tasks of a teacher. Very often, educators are pressed for time and can barely put together all the necessary materials and fit them into a single lesson. We are required to use diverse teaching strategies and techniques, show unique approach with the learners, form trusting relations, and provide culture-sensitive teaching. These are only a few of the demands a good educator has to follow today. Accomplishing all of these missions and also being a coach and motivating the learners would be an ideal type of performance for a contemporary teacher. However, it is difficult to adjust to the extremely diverse and intense contents of the curricula. In other words, I would like to challenge the expectations put on the modern educators who have to juggle the smart and very effective teaching techniques without letting it slow down the presentation of all the included topics. Creating more diverse lessons and showing individual approaches to learners does not seem to me as a way of diminishing my workload when the amount of material I am expected to deliver is larger than it used to be a couple decades ago when dry and disconnected ways of teaching dominated. After all, there exists a great variety of methods and strategies aiming at the modernization of learning, the establishment of connection between learned knowledge and real life experiences, the inclusion of families, and putting learners at the center of teaching practices; however, as decades pass, the work of a teacher, as rewarding as it can be, also continues to remain very intense and demanding with excessive workloads, and high levels of stress.