Authentic Alternatives to Accountability and Standardization
Edited By Joe Bower and Paul L. Thomas
Chapter Fifteen: An Oath to Stop Degrading Students: A Story of De-grading an Elementary Classroom
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An Oath TO Stop Degrading Students
A Story of De-grading an Elementary Classroom
JENNIFER MAGEE AND MARK DZIEDZIC
Would our classrooms and schools look and function differently if upon entering the teaching profession each of us committed to a professional oath to first do no harm, an Educators’ Hippocratic Oath?
In the summer of 2014, I was part of a group of educators from the Greater Madison Writing Project in Wisconsin that began exploring this question by looking at our own classroom practices and considering what each of us is doing and/or being asked to do that we feel might run counter to a professional oath to do no harm. To no one’s surprise, standardized testing was at the forefront of the discussions on the educational policies and practices that are squarely in the realm of harmful to children. But stopping the standardized testing movement feels, rightfully so, like a futile endeavor for most individual educators. However, we can individually do everything in our power to mitigate the testing and accountability culture within our own classroom and school. By ensuring our instruction focuses on deep learning and engagement rather than facts, rote memorization, and test-taking skills, we can work to create and maintain an environment that minimizes the importance of the standardized tests. Nevertheless, come testing season, whether we individually participate or not, our students will still be subjected to...
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