Our country’s entire educational system is in transition; having recently exited nearly two decades of total focus on test scores. Even now, at workshops and trainings, we hear the same question over and over from educators seeking fresh ideas and innovative approaches that are good for kids: “How is this activity or skill going to prepare my kids for the test?”
Although the complete focus on the test is behind us, in many places of learning, the pressure to perform well remains a real concern; and one that is holding people back from offering kids the relevant and meaningful experiences they deserve.
I’ve been working with teachers and school leaders for the better part of a decade now, supporting them in their use of technology and hands-on learning. In one particular conversation, where I was asked the question, “How is this going to prepare my students for the test?” I replied with, “The test is life, we should all be thinking about how we’re going to prepare kids for that.”
Even now, a couple years in, the transition away from such a strong focus on testing is not easy. Most people agree that it’s not completely about the test, but the sharp focus on testing has not been replaced by any consistent, clear focal point to help us all move forward. Upon realizing the power of the phrase “the test is life”, a dedicated group of supporters and I decided to create a hashtag using the phrase: #TheTestIsLife. This movement provides us with an opportunity to embrace a new focus, one that is centered on teaching in ways that are joyful and relevant.
#TheTestIsLife gives us a way to talk collectively about what’s happening in education in a really positive way. It helps us to see the big picture and put our day-to-day logistics of running schools into perspective. It’s a prompt for deep discussion and thoughtful choices….I believe it’s going to have the power to help us escape this rut that the system has found itself in for far too many years.
Today we join countless bloggers, writers and people who have given TED Talks on this topic in a way that brings it front and center for everyone. For the sake of our kids, our schools and our future, this conversation needs to be mainstream, making the argument that “the test is life… that’s the test we should all be preparing kids for.”
The vision for this movement is that #TheTestIsLife will spark a global conversation around meaningful, and relevant education. That we’ll see kids joining this conversation, business owners, teachers, education leaders and policymakers… all talking about the importance of learning that’s human, that’s real, and that’s focused on what’s going to prepare kids for life.
Join us in sharing your resources, inspiration, lesson plans and more in a way that’s accessible to everyone by using the hashtag #TheTestIsLife. Learn more at: http://www.futuredevelopmentgroup.com/thetestislife/