Are They Learning or Just Ticking Boxes?

Let’s talk for a minute about evaluating learning.

I am often asked about how the children are doing. The question comes up about how do I know how they are doing when I don’t test them?and what about those periods of time that pass when no visible progress has been made? When we have been resting from academics or when “real life” has got in the way of book work.

“Don’t you worry that they aren’t learning?”

The short answer, is no!

Because learning is lifelong, and as days, weeks, months and years go by, we learn what we need to know. And we need time to process what we are learning, we need time to put knowledge into practise and into context, to really help it sink in. They are learning all the time, we just don’t always see it from the outside.

I don’t need to test this learning or Mark their knowledge. We have conversations, about what we watch, read, see, visit…. every day life includes these conversations.

I have read anecdotal comments and articles about children forgetting what they have learnt over the summer holidays. All that says to me is that what the children are forgetting hasn’t been learnt. Maybe they memorized it for a test, to tick boxes with knowledge that they have never been able to put into context. Focus on what they can learn outside of school, really learn, with an impact on them.

Children don’t learn colours by reading about them, they learn colours by using them! Children live to learn, all the time. They don’t live to tick our boxes, they don’t live to study books.

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