Reason, Emotion, Thinking, and Writing in School

by Peter Smagorinsky, The University of Georgia Writers Who Care….The name of this blog suggests an assumption that emotions are foundational to writing, and I’d add, to living life. You’d never know it, however, from the ways in which schools view writing as a form of “cold cognition”: purely analytic reasoning, unadulterated by underlying feelings,…

Future Teachers Deterred by Standardized Tests: A Michigan Story, A National Problem

By Lindsay Jeffers Tania, an exuberant, creative, and bright African American student, is finally pursuing a career she has always dreamed about, albeit a little later than she anticipated.  She enrolled at her university in 2013 as an Elementary Education major and began her coursework. During her sophomore year, Tania took the Professional Readiness Exam…

Photo of a girl sitting in a field and writing. Photo reads, The Harvest Writer

Nurturing Literacy, Not Test-Taking

By Dawn Kirby Literacy as Nurture: Learning, Improving, and Having Fun Try a mini-experiment. Think about activities in which you engage for fun, for pure joy and pleasure.  Mentally list a few. Now, consider these questions: Does anyone officially grade you on that activity? Are you required to write a paper about why you like…

Picture of a pencil lying on top of a test answer sheet with bubble in answer options. One of the questions has test as the options instead of the traditional ABCDE

What the Data Won’t Show

by Susan Lazear When Autumn texts me, she always ends with, “Sorry to bother you.”  Sometimes she sends a heart, too, or sometimes it’s a row of hearts. Her Facebook profile picture is from graduation day. Her other pictures are from when her parents paid a local photographer to take her picture in a field,…

Photo of a lot of stop signs that read, "Wrong way"

Fight Back Against Fundamentally Flawed Regulations

By Melanie Shoffner, Rebecca Powell, Anne Elrod Whitney, and Don Zancanella In today’s environment of school accountability and high-stakes testing, teachers are constantly labeled as uncaring, unprepared, and ineffective. Patently unqualified corporations, millionaires and profit-driven businesses are invited to “solve” educational issues, while patently qualified teachers, teacher educators, and educational researchers are excluded from the…

Standardized Testing: Then and Now

By Jeremy Hyler I find myself in front of 7th and 8th graders each day, trying to make a positive impact on their personal and academic lives. In today’s world, standardized testing does have an impact on me as a teacher. Now I am on the opposite end of the spectrum from when I was…