My thanks to Melissa Taylor from Imagination Soup for drawing my attention to her post which detailed an interview she had with Susan Ohanian. Susan is a staunch opponent of Standardised testing in the US and commentator on how the fixation has caused a trickle down effect that’s gradually eroding undirected creative play and the development of any non-quantifiable skills in pre school environments.
You may ask why am I posting about a US problem and how does it relate to naturalistic play and environments? I’m glad you asked. Australia has always had a habit of scouring the world for ideas that have been tried and failed dismally in other countries and then attempting to implement them in the face of logic and generally at great cost and frustration of the community.
Currently we have NAPLAN, which, according to its million dollar website….tests Australian School children in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. It tests the types of skills that are essential for every child to progress through school and life, in reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation, and numeracy…(and) is the measure through which governments, education authorities and schools can determine whether or not young Australians are meeting important educational outcomes….. This report shows final NAPLAN results by gender, Indigenous status, language background other than English status, parental occupation, parental education, and location (metropolitan, provincial, remote and very remote) at each year level and for each domain of the test.
The passages below are Susan Susan responses to questions about the purpose, validity and efficacy of Standardised testing in the US.
Hiding behind a smokescreen of “preparing workers for tomorrow’s global economy,” these so-called education reformers treat children as commodities and teachers as mere functionaries in an accounting system. We need to protect our children, and this means asking for schools that nurture curiosity, imagination, independence, laughter, joy.’
Finally I’ll let Sir Ken Robinson make my point for me about what happens when you stifle creativity.