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Don’t blame teachers when students can’t read or write

Don't blame teachers when students can't read or write

Don’t blame teachers when students can’t read or write

Output of work should be determined by comparing diagnostic assessment results with that of summative assessment and not the usual counting of number of written exercises.

This is to our school heads, circuit supervisors and directors. We all keep complaining day in day out that our children attend school from kg to primary 6 but cannot read. Most often, the teacher gets the elephant share of the blame.

The supervisors come around and all their attention is on the lesson notes and tones of exercises. Any teacher who does this is automatically adjudged a best performing teacher even if his learners cannot read or do simple mathematics.

Nonetheless, exercises and lesson notes are good but there’s too much focus on it to the neglect of what the learners are actually achieving. We keep doing the same thing and be expecting different results. How? It is never going to happen unless we change what we focus on.

Basically, we have three forms of assessments that we can leverage to help us achieve this; Diagnostic, formative and summative.

Diagnostic assessment is a form of assessment where Students/pupil are given questions at the beginning of the term or year to test the learners level of knowledge to be able to know what the student needs to be taught. Eg. Finding out if a child can read or do simple additions. If the child cannot read, that means he/she needs reading lesson.

Formative assessment is where a learner is assessed continuously over period of time. It involves series of assessments.

Summative assessment is where a learner is assessed at the end of a period of study eg. End of term.

What I am trying to drive home here is that instead of going round counting number of exercises as output of work, let’s shift our attention to the pupils. Let’s count and compare the number of pupils who were not able to read at the beginning of the year or term with current results. That is how you determine actual output of work. In essence, you realize where the leaning gap is and be able know how, where and when to intervene.

Teachers know how to how to play by the rules. We love our job and we would do anything to protect it. If you want 1,000 exercises 1,000 exercises you would get. If you focus on up to date lesson notes, we would sacrifice lessons to write it for you.

It’s high time those in authority change the direction of the torchlight. The time is now.

Hon. Jerry Akporhor

Lead Educator @InformedTeachersNetwork

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