Saturday, November 21, 2015

How is the air up there? (La De Das)

I thought I'd apply these five critical skills that Ann McMullan listed in an article to my students at Woodford House.

Here's how I think they stack up (the next posts will take a stroll through the other four)...

         1 Calculated Risk Taking. 
Metiri Group CEO Cheryl Lemke defines this skill as “the ability to carefully consider all the factors related to the decision being made, calculate the chances of a positive outcome and the consequences of a negative one, determine ways to reduce risks along the way, and then determine whether or not to take the risk based on this information”. 
In other words whether to risk failure or not! 
I think my students have refined this as a skill with their strategic negotiation of NCEA exams and I'm not sure, but I think I have a bit of a problem with this. 
In my eyes the modern world of teaching closely reflects societies desire to lesson the chance of failure. Sports teams are now more often about participation rather than winning (and therefore risking failure). Many of my students are a product of this approach and are often shielded from the harsh world out there that presents failure. 
This is curious because often the girls themselves espouse the benefits of failure. 
In our school we've adopted the 'not yet' approach to a fail (or Not Achieve) grade in an attempt to get the girls to bounce back from a failure. Without much success from where I'm sitting. 
Girls doing NCEA who think they may fail an external exam do not even remove the shrink wrap protecting the integrity of the paper because if they do, and if they attempt the standard (signalled by removing the shrink wrap) they will automatically be graded (and therefore, most likely, fail).
Part of me remembers how much I learned from my failures and if the students have taken their calculated risk taking to this extreme then they won't make those discoveries that come with failure. 
Part of me thinks - have a go! Commit! Learn by failure! 


Unknown said...

This concern is from teacher across the country. Could it be that we, the teachers need to think about it differently? If it was a strategic move rather than a knee jerk reaction to lack of preparation, would we be happier? Do we need to apply their strategy to the standards offered early on and enjoy the learning for the 'love of learning' to the assessments they don't need credits for? Quality learning rather than quantity credits could work for some students. We talk about students driving their learning; is it that we don't like how they drive?

Wozza said...

Thanks for the comment Jennie. Interesting questions. I guess part of my annoyance stems from the fact I've spent considerable time and energy preparing students for the externals and then they decide, strategically, not to do one when they get to the crunch.