Teaching Reading

Inquiry in Teaching

After reading Every Child a Reader: What one teacher can do by Gay Su Pinnell, I wanted to make this blog pose about his 3rd section which is labeled, “establish inquiry as an integral part of your teaching”. At the beginning of the section, Pinnell discusses that inquiry does not mean testing. She refers to this as ongoing, systematic investigation. An important quote for this section is given by Hargreaves and Fink. They wrote “High-stakes testing can push teachers to deliver improved results, but it does not necessarily cause them to produce better learning.” As a future teacher, this quote is important because just because a student does well on a test does not necessarily mean they learned and can remember the content.

Image from A Lion

Pinnell discusses that “the true goal of assessment is accomplished every day in school in which teachers systematically use assessment to inform their teaching. This kind of assessment rests on careful analysis of the strategies and knowledge that required and on students’ own strengths.” This is important in any classroom. By having these assessments, the teachers are able to plan for what students need to learn next. This is helpful throughout the year because it allows the planning to be centered around the students. If the class failed a lesson as a whole, the teacher should be able to see this and see the need to go back and reteach it. Also, a teacher could take this information to see if their teaching is effective or not.

Pinnell also discusses accountability in this section. Pinnell defines accountability as every new initiative must have an evaluation component. While this is important, it should not be the main priority. Not every evaluation needs to be a test or quiz or worksheet. There are numerous forms of evaluations that can be use throughout the classroom. Something that is very easy to do for evaluation is a checklist. The teacher could have every student’s name on the checklist along with what they need to for the lesson. This checklist could be used as a completion grade but there is still an evaluation being done.

There are other forms of evaluation that can be used but do not have to be tracked with paper. These are informal assessments and they are also discussed in this section. Pinnell discusses that observing and interpreting a students reaction and behavior. By doing these informal assessments, a teacher can make decisions on how to better teach to a student or what is working or not working in the classroom. This can help the classroom run smoothly but can not be tracked on paper. These informal assessment are tracked in the moment. It could be helpful to keep a journal of things that work and do not work in the classroom.

Overall, it is clear that assessment in the classroom is important but the term assessment does not have to mean a test over every lesson. There are plenty of alternative assessments that can provide the same evaluation as a test.


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