Thompson: Teach To The Heart (Not Primitive Standardized Tests)
English teacher Claire Needell Hollander, in her "Teach the Books, Touch the Heart," identifies the key to teaching and learning. Schooling is primarily an affair of "the Heart," not "the Head." She begins her New York Times opinion piece with Franz Kafka, who wrote that “a book must be the ax for the frozen sea inside us.” Hollander recounts her teaching experiences to explain the original sin of "reform." The data-driven crowd does not understand why the tough-minded approach to schooling is to appeal to students' moral and emotional strengths. She complains that standardized testing is teaching students, "that words do not dazzle but confound." Even when our bubble-in tests "succeed" and scores are raised, the costs are too high because we fail to teach kids "that reading can be transformative and that it belongs to them." Hollander concludes, "We cannot enrich the minds of our students by testing them on texts that purposely ignore their hearts. By doing so, we are withholding from our neediest students any reason to read at all."-JT (@drjohnthompson) image via.