Friday, July 18, 2014

"Where Data is King and Jargon is Queen"

I don't want to lose track of the phrase "where data is king and jargon is queen," which appears on page 213 of This Is Not a Test by José Luis Vilson. I love that phrase. There are valuable uses for data and some amount of jargon and buzzwords is inevitable, but we need to remain critical and creative thinkers so that we don't automatically accept any new idea that comes along packaged in data and trendy language.

Throughout the book, Vilson emphasizes the importance of building relationships with students. We can introduce all the technology, accountability measures and evaluation systems we want, but what remains paramount in education is that we treat students as people, teach them with respect, and strive always to connect with them in ways that enhance the teaching and learning process.

I have a healthy respect for data but I am not a "datamaniac" (a term Vilson uses on page 184 that I like). Of course we can use data to help us understand how we can improve all parts of the teaching and learning process. But we need to be cautious about assigning magical powers to data. Data are not the be all end all.

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