I was lucky enough to be able to hear Wayne Hulley speak a few times in the past. I even co-organized an event in my school board where he gave a one-day conference on one of our Professional development days a few years ago. Mr. Hulley has been a role model for me. One of his ideas keeps inspiring me as I grow as an educator.
As I was speaking with an amazing teacher new in her career, I shared Mr. Hulley’s vision with her. Teachers often know when to evaluate. They start off with some diagnostic evaluations, followed by some formative evaluations and some great summative evaluation tasks at the end of units. That’s the way the system works. And I asked her the same question Mr. Hulley asked of us. Before you give an evaluation to students, do you know if some of them will fail or do poorly? She said yes. Then next question is: why would you give the evaluation knowing that some students will fail them?
You see, we come from a traditional education system where it is always the student’s responsibility. He or she must adapt to the system and the teacher. What if we actually shared that responsibility? Is teaching the entire curriculum more important than what the students learn and master? When we actually change our way of thinking as educators, we can help students develop their thinking. Our education system must encourage collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking. They are the path to a successful future, and we, as teachers, play an integral part in the learning process.
Don’t evaluate because you have to. Evaluate because you have taught, you have learned, they have learned and your evaluation will benefit them as students and life-long learners.