Things I’m Mad About.

I will admit that I am an easily stirred person. One can get a reaction from scaring me with a boo or igniting emotion that is fueled by anger or tears. It is even easier to stir emotion that forces laughter to rupture in my belly and burst from my lips in the form of ‘ha, ha, ha’. Call me emotional, sensitive, it is not like I have not heard it before…. but getting me to actually be full-blown passionate and dedicate a written rant to something is much harder…. but not impossible.

I bestow upon you, my reader, a blog dedicated to things I’m mad about. Not mad in a passionate way of love or lust but mad to the tips of my fingers to the top of my head to the curl of my toes. I’m angry. I’m frustrated, Iโ€™m down right questioning societies judgment, and overall perception of what is necessary and worthwhile.

I am studying Education to become an elementary school teacher and something that really eerks me is the use of standardized testing and the reduction of recess.

Standardized testing not only forces teachers to teach to the test but also encourages students to memorize what is necessary to improve the school’s scores. It generates a classroom dedicated to scores, grades, and status, rather than fostering a mind that is eager to learn for the sake of learning. Children should learn due to intrinsic motivation, not extrinsic.

Standardized testing also completely disregards the multiple intelligences and the fact that all students have a different way of learning and excelling. Standardized testing only prompts students to show their knowledge using verbal-linguistic intelligence paired with interpersonal. Some students may know just as much information but are unable to prove that through independent bubble shading.

Students are asked ambiguous questions on a variety of subjects for long periods. So long in fact that it is projected that next year students will spend 17-20 days of filling in bubbles or taking standardized tests. Studies have shown that students cannot physically stay focused and actively thinking about any subject for a prolonged period. Taking ‘literal’ breaks, not just switching from one subject to the next but actually standing up and stretching or walking around the room has been proven to improve cognitive ability and increase processing during the next task.

This idea of ‘literal’ breaks brings me to the next thing that I am mad about. Schools across the country are cutting recess in order to dedicate more time to reading and math. Standardized testing has taken over and prompted school’s into a scurry to make sure they perform to what the test says is appropriate for their school. Teachers are being held accountable for these tests and in some cases even fired when scores do not increase. These teachers are held accountable for tests that fail to measure intelligence all together. Tests, which do not account for half of the multiple intelligences or take into account that students need time, breaks, and are more than black and white, penned answers. Students are people filled with creativity and multiple abilities. If these differing ways of ability were explored and tests met students at their needs, then we would see that they not only meet the standards, but may even be smarter than any test could show or hope to measure.

This scurry expressed above and pressure placed on teachers is partially to blame for the drastic cut in recess. Recess for obvious reasons is important for physical activity, health, and teaching children at a young age the importance of being active. For less obvious reasons recess fosters cognitive ability by allowing, students time to breathe and free their mind before taking on the next challenging topic of their day. The break of recess has been proven to increase processing and focus within the classroom and help children acquire the skills for conflict resolution and to become socialized.

The demise of recess is a sad day for the world. The demise of recess pushes away the significance of human, face-to-face interaction and conversation. These aspects of communication are two things that are dwindling in a society driven by social media and technology. Students are deprived the personal growth established from simply being with others their age and resolving issues without the influence of an adult. Recess is not an unstructured free for all that provides no real substance; but, rather recess is a time for the students to grow as people, to grow their community, to be involved, to engage their imagination, and to take a break from all the intense pressures of technology, grades, and sports and just ‘be’ for a little while.

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