Sunday, November 16, 2014

How Do You Assess Inspiration?

"Education is not the filling of the pail, but the lighting of a fire."
- William Butler Yeats

If you had the chance to pose a a question about your teaching and student learning that a large number of educators would assess, what would that question be?

That's a challenge the faculty at my school are grappling with since in a couple of months a large number of educators will come to our school and assess one question related to student learning. Every educator at my school has the chance to vote with a $1.00 worth of points for a question they hope the educators will assess.

The question I favor is, "Are students inspired?" 

I am in favor of that question because I know that inspiration holds high value when it comes to student learning. Yet, how do you assess inspiration?  What evidence demonstrates inspiration and what evidence doesn't when you "look down" and observe student learning.

I offer the following evidence that depicts inspiration:
  • Students are on task.
  • Student language demonstrates that they are inspired to learn with related questions, encouraging remarks to classmates, learning examples, organization steps, positive self talk, and progress remarks.
  • Students work demonstrates investment with regard to meeting and extending the task.
  • Students are excited and enthusiastic.
  • Students' actions support their learning.
The following evidence would suggest a lack of inspiration:
  • Inactivity, heads on the desk.
  • Little discussion, questions, or self talk.
  • Little effort or completion of tasks.
  • Less bright eyes, eagerness and enthusiasm.
  • Little to no enrichment or extension of the task.
How would you illustrate an inspired classroom? What evidence of inspiration would you look for? Do you think this is an important question to assess? If so, why? and if not, why not?  What question would you choose?

I know the educators I work with will contribute many wonderful questions, and I know we'll end up with an investigation of merit. However, in the meantime, I'll keep this question close at hand as I design, deliver, and facilitate learning experiences.