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Is This the Real World?

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on June 27, 2012
Tags: , , , , ,

I am at an educational conference this week, serving on a committee approving assessment items for the 8th grade writing SOLs, the Virginia state standardized tests.

When one committee member questioned the validity of a test item, I countered with my belief that the question assessed a valuable writing skill used frequently when critiquing and editing.

His response? “Well, that doesn’t happen in the real world.”

Really? I swallowed my sarcasm. “It does in the real world of writing.”

Never before had I considered the disconnect between writing in the realm of education and writing “in the real world” because both are such integral parts of my life. Do other educators also view the world of writing as a fantasy world?

In science, students learn to conduct experiments even though most won’t end up as scientists working in a lab. In civics, we take them to the Virginia State Capitol to participate in a mock General Assembly session, though few if any will end up in that role as an adult.

Isn’t it our job to teach them what life will be like once they are out of school? Especially in middle school, our purpose is to introduce students to various aspects of life so they can start developing their interests. Have some educators forgotten that? Are they more concerned about pass rates and scoring data from tests than about the individual human beings we teach?

And all this time I thought texting was the reason my students don’t write well.

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2 Responses to 'Is This the Real World?'

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  1. Paula said,

    I left the “real world” of teaching in public school and have taught my daughter through homeschooling. I didn’t like where I saw education going with all of the emphasis on teaching students to score well on a test. Are they even ready for the “real world” when they graduate? I’m also concerned that our children no longer have the imagination needed to write a story. Many of them can’t even read well enough to enjoy a good book. It takes imagination to be the one to find a cure for cancer and thinking skills to discover that new business idea that revolutionizes a company.
    Okay – off the soapbox. I do believe our creative God would have us to raise our children as unique individuals not cookie-cutter kids who can answer the same questions the same way.


    • Stay on that soapbox…the more people who question the thought process of educators, the better. I totally agree about imagination. Most students are so concerned with whether what they say is wrong or right that they can’t offer an opinion and support it with logical thought.

      That’s why I take time from my summer to be a part of committees like this one. If I’m going to complain, I want to do my part to change the process.

      Thanks for reading and replying! Have a blessed day.


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