A Sermon on Educational Research: Relevance

From one of my favorite blogs, dy/dan, and a post on David Labarree’s “A Sermon on Educational Research”, when discussing relevance in education and educational research:

There’s also the relevance “for what?” For what end? What are we trying to accomplish in schooling? Are we trying to make better citizens or more productive workers or help people get ahead or reduce social inequality or what are we trying to do?

These are great questions to consider as a teacher. What is our end purpose? Is it to simply pass students, or is it something more? Should success be measured by standardized performance or by a standard of thinking?

I find these reflections helpful for breaking out of the zombie-like teacher attitude that focuses on standardized test scores, perhaps influenced by pressure from administration higher up. I think these ideals of “making better citizens” and “helping people get ahead” have distinctly Christian ways in which they can be understood and implemented.

I’m looking forward to seeing Mr. Meyer (author of dy/dan) in person next week at CAMT 2011 (Conference for the Advancement of Mathematical Teaching), and I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts on the conference here.