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Noam Chomsky on Assessment

Herewith another teaser from the Learning {Re}imagined transmedia project coming out on October 1st from Bloomsbury. This time is an excerpt from an interview with social and political theorist, Professor Noam Chomsky.

 

In this 7 minute excerpt I ask Chomsky about his thoughts on the value of the way we currently use high stakes examinations to test our high school students.

 

He says:

 

Passing tests doesn’t begin to compare with searching and inquiring and into pursuing topics that engages and excite us. That’s far more significant than passing tests. In fact, if that’s the kind of educational career that you’re given the opportunity to pursue, you will remember what you’ve discovered. There’s a famous physicist, a world famous physicist right here at MIT who, like a lot of the senior faculty, was teaching freshmen courses, he once said that in his freshmen course, students will ask, “What are we going to cover this semester?” His standard answer was, “It doesn’t matter what we cover, it matters what you discover.”

 

That’s what teaching ought to be; inspiring students to discover on their own, to challenge if they don’t agree, to look for alternatives if they think there are better ones, to work through the great achievements of the past and try to master them on their own because they’re interested in them. If that’s the way a teaching is done, students will really gain from it and will, not really remember what they studied, but will be able to use it as a basis for growing, on their own. Again, education is really aimed to just helping students get to the point where they can learn on their own because that’s what you’re going to do for your life, not just to absorb materials given to you from the outside and repeat it.

 

 


gbm-faceGraham Brown-Martin is the founder of Learning Without Frontiers (LWF), a global think tank that brought together renowned educators, technologists and creatives to share provocative and challenging ideas about the future of learning. He left LWF in 2013 to pursue new programmes and ideas to transform the way we learn, teach and live. His book, Learning {Re}imagined was recently published by Bloomsbury/WISE and is available now.