Etch A Sketch Education

Styles of Etch A SketchRemember as kid playing with the red Etch A Sketch? I do….I had at least two that I remember. I had a blast doodling on the screen and shaking it like a manic, which come to think of it that explains a lot but that is a different story. Now days those Etch- A-Sketchs come in other colors as well as many shapes and sizes but they are still the same old fun! And get this one they were and still are educational. How you ask, they taught us motor skills as well as different ways to make designs.

But they connect to education in a different way. In today’s educational system in America, the emphasis is on testing and standards. Both of those are tied to the teacher; not always in a good way. This emphasis on standards and testing leads to a rush through curriculum and the ‘loss’ of some students. But it also leads to this ‘Etch A Sketch’ mentality as my fellow education students and professors call it.

Today we were talking about differentiation and the reason behind the concept. W had remarked on  how students learn the material for the test and then dumped it. Professor A remarked that he had heard it described as the ‘Etch A Sketch’ mentality. We all laughed but how true it is. A lot of students seem to take the test and then shake their heads ‘erasing’ the mental boards of everything they just learned.

Why is this??? I think a lot of it has to do with their lack of understanding of why they are learning that material; the big picture. Why keep the information if you’re not going to use it or at least don’t understand how or when you’re going to use it. Secondly, since the implementation of SOLs (Standards of Learning), the state of classroom curriculum in some areas has gone around the bend. Instead of being able to expand when the students want you to or when you see an interest, you have to say “Sorry, Johnny we have to keep going.” It is a sad state of things. I am by no means saying that it happens in all or most classrooms but it is happening more now.

So instead of “drinking deeply” from the well of knowledge, students are recording the the knowledge just to erase it in a few weeks when the test is over.

I could go on and on but just let me leave you with some funnies from my college’s opening convocation as well some sound advice from the speaking Professor: “Come to our classes, come to our labs, come to studios and stages and drink deeply….They[our professors] have some fantastic water waiting for you my little ponies come get it!”. This was said after saying that you can lead a horse to water but can not make them drink and comparing us to horses and the knowledge our professors have to share with us to water.

Here have a lesson, it is FUNNY!!!


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