I agree with you about chapters 3 & 4. I have often thought about telling the students to assign themselves a grade. I think this would actually scare them more than when I grade them. Students stress themselves out on grades. they will often get upset over a bad grade on homework (5% of the total grade) and not bother to turn in a paper that is worth 20% of their grade. As a compromise, I have started giving them stress free assignments for part of each unit. This is something I picked up from Full Sail. I tell them that if they do a project according to the instructions, they will receive a 100 for that assignment. I have had good results so far. They turn in the assignments and I don't have to grade them. I can sit back and enjoy whatever they turned in and give them verbal feedback.
Levonda Vickery: Wk2 reading – Art of Possibility
As I read our reading assignment this week in the book, "The Art of Possibility" by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander, I was particularly struck by chapters 3 and 4 on "Giving an A" and "Be a Contribution". Wouldn't it be something if every educator just started giving A's to students to watch how their perspectives changed and/or evolved? Personally I feel that would be easier said than done, but in courses where you can use project-based or game-based learning I feel that it is an easy fit. It is more the creative based course like Music, Art, Graphic Design, Photography, etc... that allow for the actual effort put in to the work to show in the final result of the project and therefore to allow for that feeling of accomplishment. I know that most of us are used to tying that letter grade to our sense of achievement to show others and tell ourselves that we did a great job, but I have learned a lot through my time here at Full Sail in the EMDT program that while yes it is wonderful to see that letter grade it is not what defines me or my work. That is a very hard concept to get across to students who are used to always being judged by others on the work they do. I loved working on my Action Research project because it involved using a game to teach social skills, which allowed for the participants to not receive a "grade" for the work they did, but instead to have that sense of accomplishment on a job well done whenever they successfully completed a quest/mission in the game no matter how many times they had to do it over again to get it right. After all isn't that what we should want to instill in students is that no matter how many times they have to do something to get it right that once they have that "aha" moment and it finally clicks it teaches them that they can do it and they feel as if they actually accomplished something in the process.
As far as the fourth chapter on being a contribution I feel that everyone should strive to do this in their life. As teachers I would hope that all of us are a contribution not only to our students, but to our colleagues as well. I feel that it is important to be a contribution to society, our friends and family, and others around us and I try to live my life thinking in that manner. I know it is hard when we always seem to be so busy with our daily lives to just take a minute and try to help others with theirs, but it is what makes us different and better people. I have been unemployed since last February and believe me it has been very tough over the past year, but I still try to contribute to those around me. I would rather help others than sit and dwell on how miserable I can and would be if all I did was think about how worthless I felt for being unemployed and not supporting my family. Life is funny that way, on the differences a positive versus a negative outlook can have on a persons life.
This book just helped me affirm what we could and should be teaching our children, our future, to help them be a better person as reflected in their contributions to society and the actual pride they get from a job well done versus what grade they may be given on it. I feel more people should have that outlook on life. What did I do today? I made a birthday cake for a friend who was down because no one at work remembered her birthday yesterday. I contributed! What have you done today?