There are many different tools teachers use to assess learning, when I used to get tired of straight marking, I would pull out one of these tools from my ‘tool kit’ one great alternative was the ‘clozed activity’. I would type out an ‘ideal’ essay, delete key content and structure words throughout the essay so that the students were left with an ideal essay which had gaps that the students then needed to fill back in. The great thing about this activity was that it helped me to find out who knew their stuff, but it also helped the students learn what goes into making the content and structure of an ideal essay.
The process always highlighted different types of students in the classroom:
- those who knew their stuff and comfortably filled in the gaps – they were obviously more likely to do well in the subject.
- Those who didn’t know as much but were willing to pay attention, learn and put in the graft to get their grades.
- Those who didn’t know and who didn’t care, these students were most likely to find ways of simply ‘filling or guessing in’ the gaps and as such they often ended up with poor grades.
Why the interest in teaching all of a sudden?
Well, when I woke up this morning I thought to myself “what can I do today” ie. “what can I get busy with so that I can fill up the massive gaps in my life time and space?” I quickly picked up my thought patterns and begin to reassess myself, I asked myself this question:
What would be the point of me ‘doing something’ just to fill in my gaps when when I have no idea what to do and even if I did, I have no idea how to do it?
This is what sparked off my thoughts on the clozed activity outlined above, you see often life is full of gaps or blanks and I don’t know about you but I’ve found that most of the time my instinct is to fill these gaps with anything I can put my hands, feet and mind to – sound familiar? But most of the time I’m only guessing what I should be doing, because I have very limited understanding of the content and structure of my ideal life essay – only God knows and so I end up like that student who ends up getting poor results.
Busyness, the plague of modern life can be thought of as filling in time and space with stuff in order to move forward but ironically, being busy is the most futile activity I can think of. Imagine trying to make a a complex dish without knowing the ingredients and the techniques you need? In essence it’s trying to fill a hole when you don’t know why it’s been dug in the first place – pointless and a waste of time and effort.
Why do people like to get busy with stuff? I think sometimes the thought of not knowing what goes in a gap can be extremely frightening, gaps are unattractive reminders of our inabilities (lack of control, knowledge, wisdom), mistakes and shortfalls – we like to hide the evidence from our conscious and subconscious awareness. By filling our life gaps up with stuff we feel more at ease – for a while at least. Gaps are like hurdles that we can’t seem to move past, so we look for solutions to try and solve them, but unfortunately for us they don’t make our life essay read very well let alone the sentence!
‘Guessing in’ the art of guessing what to fill our gaps up with never really works, the end result is not pretty for those who live this way. But if guessing doesn’t work, what does? LEARNING WORKS!
Day-by-day I’m learning not to fill my time by being busy, I have to admit it’s not always easy but I guess that’s why they call it ‘learning’ lol. I’m learning from the best teacher ever, Holy Spirit because God alone knows what the ideal content and structure of my life looks like. By attending class and listening carefully to the voice of my teacher I begin to understand what should and shouldn’t go in the gaps of my life essay, so far I’ve ;learnt that guessing in doesn’t work – all that happens is that my teacher comes with the red pen and eraser and “oops” I have to start again. I’ve also learnt that some gaps are a lot harder to “get” than others, and in order to understand them fully you’ll need to persevere, be patient and trust in the lessons being learnt in the classroom until I can fill them in.
I know that there are lots of busy people out there who might find this all quite painful to hear and might be thinking – “so what do I do instead?”. I have realised that you don’t have to be busy in order to move forward and being still is not the same as being stagnant. Hands and feet that don’t know how to be still are those which are most likely to walk into problems, whereas hands and feet occupied in resting in the will of God are being used to best effect praising, worshipping, learning from and glorifying Him. The devil cannot make use of these hands.
So today, I’m attending school – I’ve got my school bag ready, got my textbook and my teacher’s ready with the first lesson – how about you?
- Here am I, Lord (creativeharmonies.wordpress.com)
- Teach Us How To…Live? an Early Church Fathers Take on The Lord’s Prayer (notforitchingears.com)
- Learning and moving on from mistakes (thummim.wordpress.com)