Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Nothing to See?

I should be grading papers and entering grades into the computer, but instead...

Well, I was looking at a post from the webcartoon xkcd. And after seeing it again, I made an education connection to it. Here's the cartoon.

Well, actually, I think there might be more than one connection. Let me go with the first one I thought of: my students. I try very hard to have much for them to do and think about. While I am the first to admit I am not always successful and class is sometimes (perish the thought) boring, I make an effort. So do most of the other teachers I know.

When students are not ready, not willing, and/or not able to go beneath the surface and immerse themselves in a lesson or a subject, they will be bored. They will see nothing but flat ocean all around them, never even guessing at the wonders that await them if they would simply give it a chance.

It is also a connection I have made with my students before about studying a book or poem. Most of what goes on is beneath the surface. Sure, sometimes all you wanna do is water-ski on top, but sometimes snorkeling or scuba diving is much more fun.

And now to a connection that has occurred to me regarding testing and the way the public at large has been encouraged to look at schools. Test scores are the surface. I hope that I teach my students much more richly than simply to prepare them for a test--and usually a multiple choice test at that. I don't know about you, but life rarely throws a multiple choice test at me. I am given live ammo exercises on a daily basis.

The depth of knowledge that my teachers in grade school, high school, college, and grad school--let me not forget the lessons taught by my parents, grandparents, and great grandparents as well--have helped me to be prepared for them. If all I had been prepped for was multiple choice tests, my life would be a much duller and less successful place.

I like the idea that there is so much going on all around us that we rarely see. It gives me incentive to try to see more. It gives me incentive to try to teach my students and my daughter that there is more to see. And to try to give them some of the tools they will need in order to see it.


Professor Stanton said...

Nicely done. You could also use this cartoon as a writing prompt and ask students to also write about their perspectives on the situation - in what way do people only see their surfaces? I fear some of my students have no real depth underneath what's on the surface - maybe it's just to early in their lives for them to have developed that depth, but maybe this cartoon would help them start to build some.

Clix said...

I'm wondering how he managed to stay alive that long... >;)