Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Call for "Uncoverage," not "Coverage"

How many times have you heard a teacher say, "Well, we just have SO MUCH to cover!" Personally, those words reverberate in my brain like nails on a chalkboard. COVERAGE does not work. When we march through content with no greater purpose than exposure, students retain close to nothing. Consider the video embedded below. (Click here if you cannot see the embed.)

Although the video above may make you laugh, it really isn't funny. Our students cannot remember the isolated facts to which they've been exposed. Further, they have attached virtually no meaning to the information they DO remember!

So, how do we fix this problem? First of all, narrow and refine the standards you teach. Identify the standards that students will need both for the test AND in life, and focus on those. Teach deeply. Ask students questions. Encourage debate. Have students engage in adult work. (Yes, ALL of our kids are capable of meaningful, adult work no matter their age!)

Our goal is understanding. Let's get there together.


  1. I love this post, Kristen. Too many times I have found myself wondering over the same dilemma. There are wonderful and caring teachers who are so caught up in covering content that they just can't see their way out of it. Where is the disconnect?

    Laura DElia
    School Librarian

  2. Laura, great point-- Where do we start? I've been experimenting with competency based instruction. Focusing on competencies as the POINT of education, not skill mastery, adds a lot to your classroom. When students are engaged, the seem to gain skills they'll need for LIFE and the TEST. I'll keep you posted on how things go this year!



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