Dad, please don’t check my grades. What’s wrong with how children learn?


Noted education expert, John Tagg stopped giving grades several years ago.  According to Tagg, author of the Learning Paradigm College, external rewards will not strengthen a student’s motivation to study. He asks educators to teach students to avoid skimming the surface. Instead, students must take a “deep approach to learning.”

One way is to provide students with meaningful patterns of information. Give them content that is organized to reflect a deep structure of the subject. Here, knowledge gets contextualized and gives students the flexibility to retrieve knowledge with little effort.  Learners will recognize that something is different and will rethink theory. Here are a few tips from Tagg :

  • Create an environment where students learn what they need to do at work.
  • Ask students to avoid a surface approach to learning; instead have them focus on meaning and take a deep approach.
  • Emphasize feedback to learners not evaluation. Promote feedback and regular response to work.
  • Adopt a new mindset that praises students for efforts and strategy.
  • Criticize their defects in strategy. Never say they are smart.
  • Adjust the cognitive load for students as they have no choice.
  • Ask students to do a self-assessment.
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