Don’t Weigh The Elephant …

Milton Chen at Edutopia has an interesting article: “Don’t Weigh The Elephant — Feed The Elephant.”

Up front Chen recounts the following experience of a friend that visits India and has a discussion that includes:

“In America, you test your students a lot, don’t you?” She replied, “Well, indeed, the United States has a national policy that requires testing of all students in certain grades.” The Indian educator said, “Here, when we want the elephant to grow, we feed the elephant. We don’t weigh the elephant.”

Next Chen talks about the research findings of Carol Dweck, Stanford University’s William B. Ransford Professor of Psychology, and her colleagues, Columbia University’s Lisa Blackwell and Stanford’s Kali Trzesniewski, published in the journal Child Development and highlighted in a recent National Public Radio report.

Math grades typically decline during the early teen years, but students who were taught to think about their brains, and about how their intelligence could expand, reversed the expected decline; students in the control group continued to worsen academically. In the NPR interview, Dweck described how seriously students took this neurological learning: “When they studied, they thought about those neurons forming new connections. When they worked hard in school, they actually visualized how their brain was growing.”

Read the whole article – it’s an easy, short read and is good food for thought.

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5 Responses to Don’t Weigh The Elephant …

  1. Bob Cotter says:

    Thank you for providing the link to the Chen article. I have passed it on to our school principals to review in the context of a video which we looked at today in our monthly meeting. I’d like to recommend this video (about 20 minutes) to your readers.

    http://tedtalks.podzinger.com/results.jsp?col=en-all-pod-ep&s=PZSID_videopods_videopod0_8_5_0008&sname=TED Talks&q=Ken Robinson

  2. Brian says:

    Thanks Bob – Consider it passed on!

  3. Tom Sheehan says:

    At a course several years ago I heard the phrase -”You don’t grow taller by being constantly measured”.

    Its true. Educators know that the testing process teaches little. It is an endurance event.

    Thanks for the link and your interesting blogs. I learn alot from you.

  4. Craig says:

    We don’t test students in this country – we test to see if teachers are doing anything. That is why teachers do not like testing.

  5. Brian says:

    Craig – Uh … what!??

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