At a most fundamental level, it’s the job of a teacher to measure achievement, whether that be scores on a test, understanding of a concept, progress in a whole variety of learning skills, and so on. Such measures of student achievement are commonly the basis for a judgment not only of how well the student is doing, but also how well the teacher is doing. The problem is, it seems to me, that we measure the wrong things — with all good intentions and due diligence! We measure test scores which are, to an extent, necessary. They point to the student’s possession of a discrete bit of knowledge, but sometimes we overlook more important things. When I visit a class at The YMCA Academy, what I see is a community of learners (and this includes the teacher) working together to understand. What I see is deeply engaged students — engaged in their own learning, and that of their community. The problem for habitual measurers is that it’s difficult to quantify engagement — but you know it when you see it. You see engagement in faces, you hear it in words. You see engagement also by what you don’t see, specifically the signs of boredom and discontent. You see intellectual struggle, but it’s a struggle to satisfy the innate curiosity to know that has been freed in our students.An engaged child is an amazing thing to see, particularly if it’s her or his first experience being excited about coming to school.We hear this from our parents all the time — the child who returns home after a day at The Academy simply isn’t a defeated one; rather, he or she has entered into the struggle to know, and to know more!
Wins are hard to come by in life for young people. We do our best to make that happen.
Don Adams – Head of School