Grades Fail Student Engagement with Learning

Great educator and leader of radical scholarship!

academic freedom isn't free

Possibly my greatest commitment while teaching public school English in a rural SC high school for 18 years was listening to my students, and by that, I do not mean listening to them during class discussions or in conferences (I did that also).

I mean listening to students when they didn’t know an adult was listening.

Some of those moments that have shaped my teaching include the following:

  • Student comment: A student walking into class told a friend that she had just failed a pop quiz in the previous class after studying all night, and from then on, she wasn’t going to waste her time studying. My lesson: Pop quizzes often taught students the exact wrong lessons intended; thus, I very early on never gave pop quizzes (leading eventually to giving no tests, for similar reasons).
  • Student comment: Two students were leaving my class once at the end of…

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