Saturday, November 10, 2012

RttT and Divergent Thinking in US K-12 Education

The President, has created a conundrum for himself by doubling down on standardized learning experience and high stakes testing while at the same time, professing his desire to improve the development of creativity through STEM learning....high stakes testing and deep autonomous learning experiences that would facilitate the development of divergent thinking capacities is not compatible. 

Teachers must train learners to take tests in order to avoid losing their jobs.

What we will see from current federal policy makers is a continuing shift toward non consensual educational experience in our schools based on data driven approaches to learning. 

"Researchers have consistently found that an approach based on extrinsic rewards and consequences actually reduces children’s intrinsic motivation to learn (Amrein & Berliner, 2003; Good & Brophy, 1995; Kohn, 1993). Sheldon and Biddle (1998) boldly claimed that attaching high stakes to tests “obstructs students’ path to becoming lifelong, self-directed learners and alienates students from their own learning experiences in school” (p. 170). .Because of high-stakes testing and the pressure that surrounds it, children are no longer engaged in enriching experiences for the pure joy of learning-experiences whereby they make decisions, explore options, make hypotheses, or problem solve. Extrinsic motivation, in the form of rewards and consequences, has replaced learning for the sheer pleasure of learning and the internal satisfaction that comes from a job well done. Children are now under increased pressure to perform on demand, memorize mundane facts and figures, and sit for long periods of time while listening to the teacher and/or filling in circles on a worksheet."

Unless their is a change, the US Dept. of Education will continue to embrace Pavlovian approaches to educational experience more likely to be found in authoritarian societies while our economic rivals will move to emulate the best of US educational learning experiences of the past that nurtured and supported the development of vast numbers of innovative thinkers and entrepreneurialism never before seen in human history.

Fine Arts education in U.S. schools have never before become so important in the learning experiences of American children.

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