Day 145 (of 185) Guest blog: A student perspective of eportfolios with shoutout to @freshgrade
Today a student shared her speech with me. I thought it was pretty insightful so I asked if I could steal it:
When we were just little toddlers, weren’t we amazing?! Everything we did was the best thing ever to our parents. Our drawings may as well be pieces of artwork. The finger painting or scribbles may as well have been done by Picasso or some other famous artist. We were geniuses just for being us.
Hi I’m Matty and I have found that once we started school, all that genius stuff was over. I was just another fish in the big blue sea. Once I started school I noticed we felt more like numbers or letters. SO for the past 7 years I have been striving for those As and 4s. I just got on the honour roll and guess what!? FreshGrade started.
Well this year, I kind of missed my report card, mainly because I thought it would be pretty good. I think also it’s just what I had become used to. We probably all have become used to letter grades and report cards. Most education has been a grading system forever, but now there are different ideas about education and learning and it is even believed that grading students isn’t creating the best learners.
Believe it or not, grades are not very accurate when it comes to peoples ability to answer questions. Sometimes you might be able to study really hard and do great on a test. But what happens when you forget everything you studied a bit later? Well, that means you actually didn’t learn anything at all except how to get an “A” on a test. The person who got a C on a test might actually remember what they learned….
Did you know there are some really successful billionaires who were C students? Even Bill Gates who was one of the founders of Microsoft, which became one of the world’s largest software companies. Cs didn’t seem to make a difference in his life. He was still successful. There are many others like him who were considered “failures” in school, but became super successful.
There are some reasons grades might not be accurate about a student. Grades often do not count for a students individual experiences. Sometimes test questions are misleading. Sometimes what we are learning is not meaningful to students or there could be distracting family situations. The most useful information is whether the teaching approach being used by the teacher is best for a child’s interests and learning style. This is very important. No wonder there are so many quotes about learning!
Believe it or not, they often use animals to show all of the different learning styles kids have. Here’s an example: let’s say all of our teachers were either monkeys, birds, or kangaroos. Well, the monkey teacher would like you to learn how to climb. A bird teacher would want you to be able to fly. A kangaroo teacher would want you to be able to jump. Do you see how each teacher has different educational ideas because of who they are? This is why I like this quote: Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree, it will live it’s whole life believing that it is stupid.
I think we are all pretty smart and can teach ourselves a lot. Just think, before we even started school we all taught ourselves some incredible things. We taught ourselves how to crawl, walk and climb. We even learned how to speak our language by listening to the voices around us. Children learn how to charm, argue, annoy and question things. Kids come into the world learning for themselves. We are motivated by curiosity, playfulness and socialability. As long as we continue to have curiosity and question the world around us we will keep learning.
Back to grades. Some of the negative affects of grades are low self-esteem. I would not be looking forward to my report card if I thought I’d get Ds or Fs. Low grades cause a student to lose motivation and learning stops.
A childs sense of self-esteem worth and abilities destroyed. Often students feel humiliated and embarrassed when their report cards aren’t considered very good.
Another thing about grades I read, was after you are done college or university, nobody asks you what you got on your tests. It’s all history that doesn’t really matter anymore….nobody really cares.
At first when I didn’t get my report card it felt like something was missing. Mainly because I think I’m just used to them. But now that I have given more thought to grades, I think it is true that teachers can teach well without grades and students don’t need grades to learn.
–> I really appreciated both that she chose to write and reflect on this as part of her public speaking event, and that she let me get an early-heads up (and love that she was okay with me sharing it for todays blog) – the power of Student Voice!