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Thursday, March 26, 2015

What Do We Measure?

Yesterday I was struck with a child's extraordinary interest and skill when it came to engineering a marble maze with simple machines. The girl demonstrated stamina, creativity, and skill that stood out amongst her peers. Yet, we don't have an official measure of these important attributes--a measure that people take note of.

Similarly another child in my midst exhibits tremendous social skills that shine amongst his peers. Not many children his age are able to navigate the social scene with the same grace, compassion, and success. Our report card has check boxes for social skills, but those skills aren't typically honored at special ceremonies or awards nights.

As I think about choreographing a program that teaches the whole child well, I'm thinking more about how I can recognize important skills and attributes that fall outside of the standards. If a child has an average rating on standards-based tests, yet exhibits strengths that are extraordinary and very important to real-world success and happiness, how can I acknowledge that. Also, how can I work to help students develop those non-standards-based, but critical, skills, behaviors, and mindsets?

I'm not the first to ask these questions. In fact, many are asking these questions as they craft learning/teaching programs worthy of children. As I continue to develop my skill and ability to design and deliver optimal learning experiences, I'll think about the measurements related to each area with greater depth.