Improving the Value Added Model of Public Education
How do we measure the value of learning experiences? Student enrollment, classroom grade performance, standardized test scores, job placement, and completion rate are all variables researchers examine to try to better address school improvement. How do educational technology products improve the overall learning experience for students? With so many approaches to addressing the need for improvement, we continue to rely on task oriented activities and solutions, which students fail to understand. Often these approaches and solutions lack meaning. Is value purely economic or social? Why is education important? What should students learn? Why shouldn’t we raise expectations? Many agree that change is needed. The current system is leaving so many students without economic opportunity and students fail to see the purpose or lack interest in becoming “enlightened.”
Dialogue, discourse, and collaboration are key to understanding how information can be used to solve a problem and classroom environments, both online and face to face, should be encouraged.
Crabbe (2007) suggests the following instructional guidelines to assist in adding learning value to tasks, which gives students the ability to manage learning and view learning as an opportunity. “Provide direct instruction in the big picture of how to add private learning value to tasks by presenting the full range of language learning opportunities. Do not assume that one public performance on a task is ever sufficient. A task is a starting point—a learner should understand how to add value to the task themselves. Frequently model in class time on how to add value to tasks by identifying and demonstrating specific private learning activities deriving from the public part of the task. Provide independent study time to try these activities in class and explain their anticipated effects. Give time for learners to discuss difficulties experienced in their performance on a task and how they might address those difficulties through rehearsal. Discuss affective factors that might affect opportunity take-up, particularly lack of self-confidence, uncertainty of goal, feeling foolish. Suggest strategies to overcome these inhibiting factors. Write private learning opportunities into materials so that they become an explicit part of the script and thus prompts for teachers to explore the opportunities with learners. Give status to private learning by assessing the learners on how well or how often they have taken up opportunities, possibly through learning logs” (Crabbe, 2007, p. 120-122).
Crabbe, D. (2007). Learning opportunities: adding learning value to tasks. ELT Journal, 61(2), 117–125. doi:10.1093/elt/ccm004