“Retesting clearly works, so I give endless chances. If you’re willing to work, there’s always mercy. You can try again.”Craig B. Smith
Craig invites students to learn without adding fear to a subject that already creates its own. He recognizes that students who are emotionally distressed—anxious, angry, or depressed—are cognitively impaired and don’t learn well, so he fosters a challenging and yet nurturing climate of learner safety to dramatically reduce learning risk.
Based on his extraordinary perceptive capacity and ability to ward off compassionCompassion Isn’t CoddlingPeople often mistake compassion for “being nice,” but it’s not.The point of compassion isn’t to soften bad news or stressful situations with niceties. It’s to come from a… More fatigue, he has mastered the artThe arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly,… More of shaping the social, emotional, and cognitive context, in creating a figuratively “clean, well-lighted place” where the whole student can flourish. This is learner safety.The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety (pp. 50, 52)
If you’re going to test, then retesting is essential to learner safety. Not offering retesting is ableistable·ism /ˈābəˌlizəm/ nounA system of assigning value to people’s bodies and minds based on societally constructed ideas of normalcy, productivity, desirability, intelligence, excellence, and fitness. These constructed ideas are deeply… More and exclusionary to those of us with spiky profilesThere is consensus regarding some neurodevelopmental conditions being classed as neurominorities, with a ‘spiky profile’ of executive functions difficulties juxtaposed against neurocognitive strengths as a defining characteristic. Neurominorities, Spiky Profiles,… More.
Craig maintains that slow students are not less intelligent students. They simply assimilate at a slower pace, so his focus is on student effort rather than aptitude. That ability to resist making discriminating judgments of students’ abilities is a skill, but it’s also a moral capacity, and one that many teachers don’t have the discipline to develop.The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety (p. 48)
Not offering retesting fails the imperative to encourage learning.
The moral imperative to grant learner safety is to act first by encouraging the learner to learn.The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety (p. 45)
Learning is invited, not commanded.
We need to remind ourselves that we don’t command learning, we invite it. The climate we create feeds the desire and motivation to learn. In an ideal setting, learner safety is a mutual giving and receiving of ideas, observations, questions, and discussion. If leaders are to meet learners where they are, you may need to back up and begin by supplying the inclusion safety that’s been absent. I have yet to see learner safety where inclusion safety is absent. One builds on the other.The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety (p. 46)
Testing creates a hostile, uninviting climate fraught with inequity and incompatible with many divergent bodymindsBodymind: A term used to challenge the idea the body and mind are experienced separately (Descartes). Written in various ways, Bodymind or Body-mind, this usage foregrounds the understanding that experiences… More.
Standardized testing is a plague on the school system that does little to hit its intended goals. If we are to measure success of our students, then we’re on the wrong path. Traditional standardized testing simply reflects the inequitiesEquityA commitment to action: the process of redistributing access and opportunity to be fair and just.A way of being: the state of being free of bias, discrimination, and identity-predictable outcomes… More present in society.
If standardized testing must remain, why not cater it to the elements we need to promote in schools? Why not have standardized testing that measures students’ intrinsic motivationIntrinsic motivation: where somebody wants to do something for themselves, for the sake of doing it and doing it well.Craft, Flow and Cognitive Styles Self-determination Theory distinguishes between two different… More to learn?
Or how valued they feel as individuals in their classrooms?
Just as scientists measure soft skills in research studies, we could redefine the testing scenario to one that provides actual information that’s valuable to schools.Primer: A Guide to Human Centric Education
Don’t make testing more fearful and inequitable by not offering retesting.
In every learning context, consciously or not, we assess the level of interpersonal risk around us.
A hostile learning environment, whether at home, school, or work, is a place where fear elicits the self-censoring instinct and shuts down the learning process.
Learners rarely put forth the effort to learn unless learner safety is in place. It’s a “build it and they will come” principle. If you don’t build it, they may still come, but they won’t learn.The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety (pp. 44–47)
Related readingThere are three types of reading: eye reading, ear reading, and finger reading.The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: A Blueprint for Renewing Your Child’s Confidence and Love of Learning Most schools and… More from our communityWhat I have always been hoping to accomplish is the creation of community.Community is magic. Community is power. Community is resistance.Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century https://www.amazon.com/Disability-Visibility-First-Person-Stories-Twenty-First-ebook/dp/B082ZQBL98/ https://www.amazon.com/Disability-Visibility-Adapted-Young-Adults-ebook/dp/B08VFT4R9T/… More,
“try again” by Sean MacEntee is licensed under CC BY 2.0 .
Leave a Reply