professornana (professornana) wrote,

AR-e you kidding me?

There ws a post on Facebook this weekend asking this question: AR: Brilliant or Insane? I posted a link to the piece and then asked folks to put their response into the comments. All was rocking along until a teacher took offense at the criticism of AR. Several of us chimed in with our knowledge of AR and its , well, shortcomings, for lack of a better term. We listed:

1. forcing kids to read within a level, their ZPD
2. making kids take multiple choice tests over everything they read
3. awarding points in an extrinsic motivation tool that never does become intrinsic using this program
4. limiting book selection
5. turning reading into a competition
6. wasting money that could be spent on books
7. making it easier for teachers NOT to read
8. causing anxiety among kids who might fail the test and then be told the book they read does not count
9. prohibiting re-reading (at least for "credit")
10. even suggesting you can assign points and levels to books (using a scientific formula to measure a creative piece of art)

I know we are a forceful group, those of us who object to these canned programs (AR, Read 180, etc.). I feel strongly about this because I have seen the damage done. In my own family. In the family of other friends and colleagues. As Donalyn Miller posted on Twitter recently: #firstdonoharm. What would happen if we as educators had a Hippocratic Oath?

I swear by Acala, Abeona, Adeona, Aittsamka, and call all the gods and goddesses of teaching to witness, that I will observe and keep this underwritten oath, to the utmost of my power and judgement.

I will reverence my students; I will teach them my art without reward or agreement; and I will impart all my acquirements, instructions, and whatever I know, to my children, as to my own; and likewise to all my pupils, who shall bind and tie themselves by a professional oath, but to none else.

With regard to healing the sick, I will devise and order for them the best diet, according to my judgement and means; and I will take care that they suffer no hurt or damage.

Nor shall any man's entreaty prevail upon me to administer tests to anyone; neither will I counsel any man to do so. Moreover, I will give no sort of programs with a view to destroy the child.

Further, I will comport myself and use my knowledge in a godly manner.

Whatsoever house I may enter, my visit shall be for the convenience and advantage of the child; and I will willingly refrain from doing any injury or wrong from falsehood, whatever may be the rank of those who it may be my duty to teach.

Whatever, in the course of my practice, I may see or hear (even when not invited), whatever I may happen to obtain knowledge of, if it be not proper to repeat it, I will keep sacred and secret within my own breast.

If I faithfully observe this oath, may I thrive and prosper in my fortune and profession, and live in the estimation of posterity; or on breach thereof, may the reverse be my fate! (adapted from Hippocratic Oath)
Tags: canned programs
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