Making the Switch – How can teachers let go of the worry of EQAO testing?

I know that we have said that the board improvement plan rests on teachers being able to focus on good teaching and not worrying about covering the curriculum to be ready for “the test”.  I also know though that just saying it will not make it so.

I have been thinking about this a lot.  How can we make a change in the way that teachers view the testing years?  How can we give them the power to release their fears and just teach to the needs of the students they have in front of them?  Teachers tell me that they do not want to let students down by not preparing them for the rigorous nature of the testing.  They are concerned that they must have taught to the questions that will appear so that their students will have the best chance of passing.  They are caught in the dilemma of having to “move on” or not finish the whole curriculum even when students have clearly not mastered the current topic.  What a horrible place to be!

 I think I might know the answer.  What if every teacher focused on teaching problem solving skills?  Instead of having to be sure that every possible question was “covered”, we could focus on giving students the skills to creatively problem solve no matter what question they face.  Skills over content is surely the start of the answer.

What do you think?  Am I being naïve or am I on to something?


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