Flipsides: Teaching and Testing

Flipsides: Teaching and Testing

Flipsides: Teaching and Testing

This picture came out of a presentation I was asked to give, but that was then cancelled. There I was with a half-finished talk in my brain and some sketches plotting out my opening statement with those big letters representing Teaching and Learning (and Testing). As I didn’t want the idea to be one of those abandoned scribbles in one of my notebooks, I decided to make a print out of it instead.

The idea started out with the concept that Learning Happens in the Tangents that I picked up at a recent conference (thanks again to Jesse Stommel), which is such an important truth – so often not appreciated by students, and maybe us lecturers as well. I like the idea that Teaching goes beyond what is contained in the ‘lesson’, it almost ripples out; while Learning takes place again not just in the lesson, and not just inspired by it, but rather gets often sparked by those ripples and connections the individual makes. I am constantly fascinated by what students pick up from a lesson – and what they don’t. That is the great thing about developing independent learners (and thinkers), rather than getting them to memorise a lot of stuff.

However, there is a flipside to that – certainly in the culture that I work in. This is, of course, Testing. Testing is very often incredibly narrow, and it doesn’t usually test the learning that took place, but only the learning that intersects with the teaching (and often only a very narrow concept of the teaching). I wish the system wouldn’t be that concerned with testing, as that might open up the students to explore more of the ripples and not care so much about the testing.

… and for whoever is interested: the print is two colour screenprint, one colour risograph and some hand-colouring.

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