Tools for teachers

I recently came across Report Wizard, a clever piece of software for teachers of English, French, Spanish, German and even Business studies.

In essence, RW is an evaluation report-writing program that allows you to evaluate your students by select from a list of four standard performance levels (Excellent – Good – Satisfactory – Poor), and then literally writes the report for you in fully editable text.

But what makes RW really stand out is that every text output comes in six variations, which means you have six different ways to praise or, um, “encourage” your students.

I can’t help but think that this kind of tool would be enormously useful in universities.

Five things I learned at school

I was educated in a little country that’s currently taking the world down with it. I am thankful to have gone to school there and to have received an education. But looking back at it – and after a lengthy discussion with friends about education in general – I can distil out five elements that characterised and still characterise school education there – and in most countries too.

  1. The only appropriate format for learning is: Teacher stands in front of class and talks for 45 minutes, you read your textbook, you learn the lesson, you can successfully recite it next time. If you fail to learn with this format, you’re either lazy or stupid. Either way, we can’t help you.
  2. The purpose of education is to achieve the highest grades and get into university (and then get a great job, right?). Whether or not you enjoy the subject should not affect your performance.
  3. Knowledge is good, but unless it’s certified and approved by your accredited institution, it’s worthless.
  4. Even though you are receiving a broad education, there are only three subjects that have value: Math, Science, and Language/Literature. The rest are just filler. If you’re not performing well in those three core areas, you’re either lazy or stupid. Either way, we can’t help you.
  5. Your generation has everything ours didn’t (books, clothing, canned tuna etc). Therefore you have no excuse for not achieving top marks consistently and in every single subject. If you fail to do this, you’re either lazy or stupid. Either way, we can’t help you.