While the election campaign was going on, I found it increasingly difficult to decipher the truth. Claims are made all over the place without any backup. I think it is dangerous for the people reading and listening who may not have the skills to critically question things. We put our trust in various sources, perhaps erroneously, to provide us with information. We often assume that these people have done the research but the fact is that too many people take information at face value without questioning it.
I think that is the biggest shift that I have seen in myself since beginning this master’s program. I now question everything I come across. Everything I read, I look for citations (in proper APA of course) and find myself constantly asking, “says who?”. I am proud of this new tendency and it is making me a better learner and better educator for it. Full disclosure here, I recently had someone review a paper for me that came back with several instances of “says who?” in the margin. I also have no idea if I need citations for these two items in quotes here.
I was at a professional learning community on assessment last week. We did a couple of readings, and I found myself questioning certain claims. In one of these readings, Anne Davies states that
We all know that business and community leaders as well as researchers are saying that the challenges of our future demand that today’s students be problem solvers, able to work as part of a team, create knowledge from information, and apply ideas in new ways to design solutions to emerging problems. Think about it (p. 160).
Okay Anne, I thought about it and I am questioning where this information that we all know is coming from. You haven’t provided a reference so I am hesitant to believe this claim you are making. When I voiced this question to the group, someone told me [jokingly], “to put my master’s brain away” (J. Doe*, personal communication, October 15, 2105). I was taken aback by this statement. Doing readings for my program is not the only time that I need to be critical. We were talking about teaching practices and information that we might adopt for educating our students, so why would we trust something that was not grounded in research? That is exactly the time that I need to be critical and ask for the evidence.
*name has been changed
Davies, A. (2007). Leading towards learning and achievement: The role of quality classroom assessment. In J.M. Burger, C. Webber and P. Klinck (eds.), Intelligent Leadership, (159–182). Springer.