Reflection: Trust and Respect Visual Views on Education - Section 2: Norman Rockwell: The Spirit of Education

 

The students found the questions to be frustrating, as expected, so it was a great opportunity to talk about test-taking and reading questions.  For example, one question asked "from this depiction alone, who is excluded from Rockwell's ideal vision of education?"  The students questioned that this was even an "ideal vision," thinking that it was a painting of a kid getting ready for some presentation or something that they didn't want to do.  The question really emphasizes the idea of looking at what isn't shown, but I have to agree with the students that this seems a little too presumptuous of what Rockwell's purpose is (showing the danger of looking for what isn't there--those determinations should still be based on the context and content of the text itself--this is a concept I'll have to think about emphasizing further).  And I shared this view of the question with them before launching into the "but if you see a question like this on the AP exam, you can't argue with the proctors" line that shifted the lesson a bit to accepting assumptions in prompts like this and answering from that context.  I also shared a story from my week at the AP institute where my instructor talked about the people developing prompts having some heated debates about whether a question was good or not.  The point being, whether the question is great or not, you still have to answer it.  My joining in their skepticism of the question and sharing some insight into the test-development process seemed to engage them a bit in the discussion; the initial tone of a couple students ready to argue the merits of the questions turned to, "okay, I get why I have to go with this," so it turned out to be a valuable discussion in this regard (it also models the fact that it is okay to question things in a classroom in reasonable way, and shows that I, as the teacher, am on their side).

The brainstorm was positive, too; through the discussion students started seeing smaller and smaller details, and particularly focused on the facial expressions.  This level of detail was a step up from a month ago when we looked at advertisements, which was good to see.

  Focused on Question Assumptions
  Trust and Respect: Focused on Question Assumptions
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Visual Views on Education

Unit 4: Thematic Unit: Education
Lesson 6 of 18

Objective: SWBAT establish the arguments made in a painting and a cartoon about education by examining specific images, and how words and images work together.

Big Idea: Illustrations can make strong arguments through precise placement of props.

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