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Lesson Plans

Teaching to the test

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
S. Henneborn (heneborn)
Thu, 06 May 1999 10:15:47 -0600

Leah and Cynthia and others who have expressed this concern,

I would like to add my opinion to this thread because it is taking the
pleasure from the teachers and the students. I welcome the high standards but
I don't want the pressure to spoil a "good thing" I have read several posts
which mention having to teach so many different cultures. If the test is
designed well this should not be an issue. Social Studies is under the gun
to cover specific cultures. I think the objective for ART is to be able to
compare and contrast and if you have taught those skills for a few cultures
then the test takers should be able to apply those skills to the art forms of
any culture given on the test. If they are practiced in the language they will
be able to apply what they have assimilated to any culture even if it is new
to them.

At NAEA I took a workshop on assessment and we had the opportunity to take a
field test for middle school level. If I had previous knowledge of the
culture and artist I would be able to answer and if the artist and culture
were new to me I would do just as well on the test because I had the skills to
compare and contrast and recognize symbols. Actually I found I had difficulty
because I knew symbols of the culture that the test makers did not spot. The
test didn't allow for these additional symbols so it took me longer to choose
my answers or make my decision.

40 min. once a week is a given and must be factored in. I refuse to put this
stress on my students. It is deadly on the JOY and SPONTANEITY we want to
foster. I see the change in the classroom teachers with this added pressure
and I refuse to get swept away in the hysteria. As the classroom teachers
spend less and less time on hands on learning it is especially important that
we fill in the gap.

>but when you only meet with students for 40 min. once a week (my
situation) there is only so much you can cover. Furthermore, it seems to set
up a stressful situation for both the teacher and the student when you must
try to teach and learn so much, in so little time. This stress is certainly
not going to foster a fondness for art. The problem with teaching towards a
test, is that it takes much of the fun and spontaneity out o learning. I'm
all for setting high standards, but they must be reasonable and the little
time we have to teach art must be taken into consideration
(it would be nice if we had more!!).

Sincerely, Leah

Children need time to digest information,
>and I am reworking the art curriculum to have a more spiral kind of feel
>to it, but feel a little overwhelmed in trying to teach about every
>major world culture's art, and have my students be able to truly compare
>and contrast the arts of different cultures, all by fourth grade. And
>this is just one tiny part of the new state standards. I have a
>positive attitude, but as you can see am a little worried here.
>Anyone have any comments?
>Cynthia, South of Boston