Standardized tests and homework

My teaching values reflect a student-centered disposition which is fundamental towards impacting student learning, because it encourages teachers to go beyond what is required of them to support their students learning needs. Teachers should facilitate student learning and help students learn what is important to them rather than simply teaching them how to effectively pass a standardized test, because the “goal of education should be to create a population of lifelong, self-directed learners” (Dr. Scheuerman) instead of simply future employees. I want to accommodate student’s academic interests, instead of just teaching students to take standardized tests and following a strict curriculum that focuses on the short-term testing gains. Now in regards to the controversial issue over homework, I think it can be a beneficial tool if applied correctly. Homework can be used to further the day’s lesson, but teachers need to be careful of using it as a means to cover the regular curriculum when class time is more focused on standardized testing. The goal is to get away from superficial short-term gains and focus more on how we can effectively teach and motivate our students to “internalize the value of learning” (Dr. Scheuerman), which then leads to enduring and meaningful learning.

I decided to be an English teacher because of my passion of literature and the discussions that arise from interpreting and analyzing a piece of work. Like Lev Vygotsky (1980), I believe learning is most beneficial as a social act, and must not be done in isolation. His research also suggests that students and teachers learn more, are more engaged, and feel like they get more out of their classes when working in a collaborative environment. Thus, I am a passionate believer that learning should be active not passive. My aim is for students to take what they have learned in my classroom and apply it to life by equipping them with problem solving strategies, which hopefully will enhance their lives. Due my active view on learning I can see how homework can seem like a black hole when scaffolding new knowledge, because I cannot see how they’re completing the assignments outside of school. Therefore, I would keep a record of how they’re doing on in-class assignments as well as discussions to make sure the work matches my expectations of them. I would also place more value on in-class assignments and discussions to avoid relying on homework to purely assess student knowledge and to make sure my students are more active in class.