Elephants in the Classroom

This week we read an article that is called, “9 Elephants in the (Class)Room That Should ‘Unsettle’ Us” by Will Richardson. Just the title alone of this article really interested me and pulled me into the article itself. This article is pretty clever in the way that Richardson uses these comparisons with “Acknowledging the Elephants” which means realizing drawbacks and faults in some occurrences that happen in our classrooms. The first “elephant” that this article talks about is “We know that most of our students will forget most of the content that they ‘learn’ in school.’” Well as a future teacher, it is pretty difficult to read that. But, also being a previous student myself in the public school system I can definitely agree with this statement. I remember just freaking out over my geography test because we had to know specific regions of a foreign country and where different lakes and rivers were. This knowledge is beyond what I would need in my college educational career. Maybe information like how to read a map would be more beneficial that memorizing information on a map that I wouldn’t need to use at any time. This just makes me reflect on my future lesson plans and incorporate new ways to have students learn things that are meaningful to them that they can use in their future lives.


Photo by Will Shirley on Unsplash

The next “elephant” that I would like to discuss from this article is “We know that grades, not learning, are the outcomes that students and parents are most interested in.” This can also be a harsh realization as parents inside the classroom community can cause a lot of stress and conflict. It all comes down to the parents thinking they know their child and how they learn better than the teachers. They think that it is the teacher’s job to ensure their child gets an A but in all reality, it is a shared effort between the teacher, the parents, and the child themselves. There can be faults in this community and can cause the student to not do as best as they could be doing inside of the classroom. This article discusses the idea that we should ask the parents what the material is that their child is going over, instead of the grades that are given out each semester. They don’t fully get the difference between the two but they are vastly different. Grades depict effort and listening skills. Learning can depict critical thinking and content knowledge expansion which is hard to fully measure with an assessment. In all, I really enjoyed this article! Very helpful.


Richardson, W. (2016, April 9). 9 Elephants in the (Class)Room That Should ‘Unsettle? Us. Retrieved from https://medium.com/modern-learning/9-elephants-in-the-class-room-that-should-unsettle-us-8335b2cef9aa


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