For this reflection, I would like to dive deeper into my views of Most Likely to Succeed, which we were directed to watch last week. In particular, during the breakout session I was assigned to, we had a meaningful debrief initially discussing our first impressions; many people had mixed feelings about the premise of High Tech High, in that they admired the intention behind its efforts to encourage self-driven learning and inquiry, but were’t necessarily sure if the skills acquired from such an experience were of any more value than those acquired from a typical public school, especially in consideration of the post-secondary institutions that many of its students were likely to attend later on. To elaborate, we all agreed that it was refreshing to watch children grow in their passions for a subject, something which ultimately should be a focus point, but felt that evidently this is not how the traditional stream of academia runs, brining up the preceding concerns and opening up our eyes to the degree of change that needs to happen if the future of education is truly routed in the pedagogy of High Tech High.
One scene that very much stood out to me and my peers involved a question directed towards teenagers, concerning if they would rather ace a test or learn practical applications of the content it covered, two things that should but do not currently coincide. The general consensus was that obtaining a desirable score was more valuable, with the reasoning that it would determine the caliber of college you attend, affecting the careers you can pursue, and so on (essentially the level of attainable success). I resonate with these pressures, and, on the surface level, do not believe that there is anything wrong or flawed with wanting the best for yourself. But if this comes at the price of compromising your potential to learn and actually understand what it is that you are learning, lines become blurred and a problem starts to arise. To explain, all throughout my schooling I was considered a “good” student who studied and received a grade that reflected this, my motivation being to stand out to my instructors and eventually higher education facilities. However, this was not teaching me to actually engage with the material, but instead memorize and recite.
I wanted to share that in my senior years of English class I was introduced to a new method of evaluation, involving the general categories of E (exemplary), P (proficient), D (Developing), and R (rudimentary). The purpose of this was to foster growth by allowing opportunities for us to improve throughout each term and not receive validation or disappointment from a given grade. An issue occurred, though, because this was not how the rest of the school operated, and thus the range we were in come report card time was equated with a percentage, defeating the goal in my opinion. I feel that this is a prime example of how the individual components of a system cannot necessarily work independently of the whole; a potential tie to the documentary.
As a closing remark, I appreciated the thought-provoking messages brought forward by Most Likely to Succeed, and will keep them in mind as I continue my studies in the realm of education, specifically what it means to be a teacher and how I can best support learning and well-being in my classroom.