Last week I gave my students study guides for their novel final exams this week. One of the teachers in the copy room saw my study guide and asked why I give the students all of the identifications, quotes, and essay questions. I explained that I see teaching as:
1. Tell the students what they need to know. I show the students everything I want them to learn, skills and content.
2. Teach the students what they need to know. We learn the content as we learn the skills.
3. Make sure the students show me what they need to know. The exam reveals to me how well I did in teaching the material and skills, and it shows the students how well they did. The exam is as much a test of my success as it is representative of student learning.
If I see very low scores, I know we need to practice more and redo the final exam or project. If scores are high, we were all successful.
Anyway, the teacher in the copy room with me seemed surprised that I would give the students so much information that will be on the test or in the project. I simply stated that I don’t believe we (teachers) should surprise students or try to trick the students. I believe students should be responsible for their learning but with known targets and standards.
I don’t give the students every question, but I do give them every identification and skill required.