I had the good fortune to present a full day formative assessment workshop to a great group of teachers on Friday. They listened, asked questions and created their own formative assessment materials.
During the workshop, I stressed that after we have presented the information and students demonstrate that they do not “get it”, we need to either drastically paraphrase the information or give an entirely different strategy for learning it. During the workshop, I used several metaphors
Students have a one channel TV. Although they have the option of many different stations, they stick to one only. When they do not get any reception on that one channel, they do not switch to another way. We have the responsibility to show them how to use the other stations so that they can move forward in their formative assessment.
Students get stuck in a rut when they cannot understand what we present. That rut prevents them from moving forward. We have to help them get out of the rut by providing them with a new strategy for understanding the learning goal. That formative assessment strategy enables them to start back on their learning.
Some quotes about a closed mind or looking at a problem in only one way.
“If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”
“Our first problem is not to learn but to unlearn, to clear out some of the old assumptions (ways of thinking and doing).” G. Steinem
“If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.” V Hill
“Half of being smart is knowing what you’re dumb at.”
“It is not a disgrace to start over, it is usually an opportunity.”
“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.” F Zappa
“A closed mind is like a closed book; just a block of wood” Chinese Proverb
“A closed mind is a good thing to lose.”
How do you open your students’ minds so that they can learn the critical learning goals in your subject?
My book, Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.
My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.