Sunday, February 15, 2015

How should literacy learning be assessed? Have your voice heard in the conversation.

A group of passionate, vocal teachers from EMU's Teacher Advocacy Workshop
I am so grateful to the experiences I have had as a grad student in the English Studies for Teachers program at Eastern Michigan University. This graduate program has really allowed me to see the need for teacher leaders, rather than the typical story in education which is that you are only viewed as a leader in this field if you are an administrator. Don't get me wrong, good administrators in education are EXTREMELY important. But in a profession where there is very little upward mobility, going from teacher to administrator is really the only way to move up in the field of education. Which is why my experience in the English Studies MA program has been game-changing for me. It has allowed me to see that I can be a leader in my field and make a difference being "just a teacher." (Picture me using air quotes and rolling my eyes here.)

In addition to my graduate studies, another game-changer in my career has been my membership in the National Council of Teachers of English. As a young teacher, NCTE was an organization I was proud to join and happily paid my yearly membership. It is the oldest literacy organization in the country, but that does not imply that their beliefs and positions are old and dated. NCTE's stances on issues of diversity, social justice, assessment, and literacy instruction have paved the way for theory and practice in English classrooms since 1911 and have always been groundbreaking and forward-thinking.

Even if you're not an English teacher, NCTE's stances on the aforementioned issues make them an organization I believe every teacher should be a member of, or at the very least, be aware of their position statements and policy research.

We are at a moment in our nation's history where the people furthest removed from classroom instruction have the loudest voices and biggest stake in the decisions being made in and for schools. NCTE wants teachers to have their voices heard amongst the din of educational policymakers who don't know what it's like to spend an entire day in a classroom full of students and who are bereft of knowledge in best practices and research by experienced educators.

If you're a teacher and you'd like to be included in on the conversation, I invite you to take 10 minutes to answer this 5-question survey about how you think literacy learning should be assessed. We all deserve to have our voices heard. Not just the people with the most money and clout in Washington.

Also, don't forget to participate in tonight's #nctechat on Twitter. If you're reading this post after February 15th at 8 PM ET, check out the Storify archive.

1 comment:

  1. I recently started following you and as a result NCTE. Your insight and your ability to bring the right people together are helping me develop my own stance on the educational situation in our country. Thank you.