Why shouldn’t they know?

I was relief teaching at a school today. Well it wasn't so much relief teaching, I was asked to help prepare a group of year students for their upcoming NAPLAN tests. It was like the old fashioned cramming that got me through university.

So I grabbed a couple of past NAPLAN tests, picked out a couple of Maths and Reading test items and RAMMED it home.

I taught it and taught it and retaught it. I made it clear to the kids that I was aiming for 100% mastery on these items and would accept nothing less. No enlightened teaching at all - just the old fashioned stuff. I tested and when kids got items wrong, I retested - everybody. No differentiation here. Everyone stayed together.

And you know what? It worked.

More capable kids helped less able, kids asked for help from their mates, kids put up their hands when they needed my help. And when kids cried out, "NOW I get it!" the hair on the back of my neck stood up.

On those few items - everyone got 100%. And tomorrow when I go back, I will do another couple of items and the process will start again. I am doing this gig for the next 4 weeks - 3 days a week, 3 sessions a day. Every class will rotate through me for 90 minute sessions.

Total Mastery is my catch cry!

So why shouldn't kids know your goals?

Sometimes, I wonder whether we make teaching more difficult than it needs to be.

What do you think?

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