A Good Result
When we begin something new, most of us start with the hope that we will get a good result in the end. We are a performance-based culture. We want progress and like to measure outcomes and see success where we have invested our efforts.
My daughter recently wrote a persuasive essay called “A Grading System that Benefits the Students.” She argued that criterion-grading is the best system for schools. In criterion grading, your correct answers determine your grade. She compared this method of scoring to the bell curve, where your ranking among other students determines your grade.
When we first talked about the two grading systems, the most important aspect to her was what kind of grade the student could get. I think all students tend to think this way. I explained that she should be thinking bigger. Ideally, grades reflect learning and the most important outcome of education is not grades, but learning. This advice sounded cheesy even to my own ears, but it’s true.
Learning is the Outcome
I’ve been a student where my scores determined the direction of my future. One good test scored got me a college scholarship. One good grade on the Dental Hygiene National Board Exams allowed me to pursue a a career as Registered Dental Hygienist. The score was high enough to get me an invitation to join the faculty only a year after graduating. Then I needed all that I’d learned in school, to teach others.
When I taught, student test results affected my value as a faculty member. Good scores for students reflect well on teachers. An important aspect of my job was preparing students to pass the Board Exam, but we always wanted students to learn the material, not just memorize it. Growth is learning from both successes and failures. Learning means you can apply knowledge to real-life situations. It’s useless to produce students who can spit out all the right answers, if they can’t use what they’ve learned, in real life.
As a homeschool parent, I’ve been torn. I like to see a good result. I want my kiddos to do well on tests because so much of life is determined by test scores, but I want to see joy in learning, too. It’s great to see them growing intellectually. I want them to love learning.
Beauty in the Process
Lately, guitar theory and pentatonic scales are a big deal to my son. He’ll never be a professional musician, but it makes me happy to see him light up while listening to his teacher. My daughter is reading classical literature and her favorite ancient historian is Heroditis. I’ve never read him, but I’m glad to see her growing beyond my experience. The process of learning is hard to measure but beautiful to behold.
I think that our Heavenly Father is all about our process. We meet Him in the middle of the mess of life. He’s there, with His holy sleeves rolled up, working right alongside us. He’s the Craftsman Who enjoys carving a decorative object from an ordinary piece of wood, molding a useful pot from common clay, or constructing a house up that begins with a firm foundation.
The Lord doesn’t fear getting stuck in the middle like we do, because He knows the ending. He is eternity. He is the beginning, middle and end.
If you are so in love with a good result that you can’t enjoy the process, you’re in good company. Racing ahead to the end is our cultural norm. I have a whole project and website dedicated to learning to love life in the middle. Please check it out: MeetMeintheMiddleProject.com
It’s hard to believe that we’re almost done with the Write31days Challenge. I’m still interested in Walking through the Christian year, so I am praying about writing for Advent. Let me know if you have anything you would like for me to write about now or if you have an idea for Advent (Sunday, November 27 – Sunday, December 24).
See you tomorrow!
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