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A Wishing Well Premise, Article Review Example

Pages: 2

Words: 632

Article Review

Black, Harrison, et al. (2004) do provide good foundations for education (primarily in Science and Math, as the authors asserted on page 10) and support existing research which emphasized that experience is often the best teacher. This article and its predecessor were certainly received well. Nonetheless, popular opinion can be misleading, and Black, Harrison, et al. provide a very intriguing study of the vague common denominators of education and assessment for learning. After the applause dies down, the teaching tricks are seen for their true flaw which many believe to be their greatest strength: simplicity.

The ideas for changing current questioning practices are applicable to the classroom setting but assume too much. Yes, the silences which fill the time after a teacher asks a question can be “painful”, but are they necessary (p. 12)? n some cases, discomfort is a motivation. The shy student would rather answer the question quickly, sparing as much “pain” as possible, and effective teachers have to develop a broad repertoire of strategic weapons for teaching. Still, students the world over can appreciate the authors’ suggestion that teacher consider abolishing the rigid, child-like custom of raising hands to indicate participation. Here again the paper reaches a crossroads between a position upholding tradition and a position upholding realistic scenarios and expectations of life after graduation. According to the authors, students should be informed of every detail of what is expected of them and monitor their own progress as they begin to reach for these educational goals. This again assumes an odd combination of educational possessiveness and abandonment which seems to propose that the teachers train the students to teach themselves. In theory, this sounds good; however, the quality of the information being transferred cannot be guaranteed because peer collaboration depends upon a feeling of freedom and privacy. Even the assessment feedback is designed to minimalize the role of the educator and evoke critical thinking from the student.

Another dire shortcoming is presented by the lack of action and the lack of deeper questioning. The authors provide step-by-step instructions on how to manage the classrooms, the grading, and the feedback to increase productivity. These guidelines can provide an illusion of higher-order thinking, but the presence of desirable academic conversation cannot be confirmed without the constant monitoring of the teacher. Peer tutoring assessment never works quite as well as it sounds like it will on paper, because there are young people involved and who suddenly find themselves under less individual supervision. Thus, the authors seem to believe that their program will be implemented by teachers who have considerable abilities already.

Finally, while the authors’ experience is impressive, it cannot account for every turn of events in the school system. A thorough research design is difficult even when the results of the research are limited to one country, thus an international concept of education seems- by very definition- to be formed upon assumptions and arrogance. To achieve any real progress, a certain lack of detail must be present to allow the teaching plan to conform to the needs of different subjects within different schools on different continents. Despite the connections which educational professionals will undoubtedly make between this article and their practices, they are but templates for the informed teacher to apply according to the expectations of their school district and the needs of the students. Even the three main problems (p.9) which were identified raise issue ,because assessment methods and feedback often require experienced teachers. Furthermore, grading is not typically assigned to a specific number of A’s or B’s, so assertions that grading systems are pressuring students and increasing competition within the student body are unfounded.

References

Black, P., Harrison, C., Lee, C., Marshall, B., & William, D. (Sept. 2004). Working Inside the Black Box: Assessment for Learning in the Classroom, Phi Delta Kappan 86(1): 9-21.

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