Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Let's customize our rubrics!

One of this week's challenges was to create a rubric or an alternative assessment tool I might use in a class. This task generated to me some thoughts I would like to put into words.

 It is not always easy for teachers, especially when they have to prepare for many different classes, to design their lessons in detail, that is, to write down the learning objectives, choose the right teaching material, design the process carefully and have a rubric in hand to assess the students' performance. However, all these different elements are closely interelated and they are not such a heavy load of work once the teacher gets the hang of it.

The main idea behind this teaching duty is that all studends have the right of equal chances to education and deserve  teachers who are, above all,  professionals. What is more, a learner needs to develop a sense of self-awareness and self-confidence and   be assisted in their attempt to learn how to learn, which leads to their being autonomous and independent learners. The issue raised here is how a teacher can attain such a ambitious goal. What does a teacher need to know, how can they cope with the new demands?

First of all, I think that teachers should not feel guilty for not having been received appropriate in-service training throughout their career. Second, they shouldn't allow any insecurity they may feel, once they are called to implement a new approach, to hinder their professional progress. Refusing to try out new ways of teaching, or even worse, being up in arms against any suggested innovation is like a deadend. It is surprising to realize that among other professionals like doctors, engineers, and so many others, teachers are the least eager to changing attitudes and the most likely to resist. 

Being a teacher myself, after many years of loneliness in my teaching itinerary, I can now say that a teacher needs a community,  a network of teachers that can drag him/her out of the stagnant waters. The wider the community, the more their chances of being inspired and saved from frustration. In modern days, there are many teaching tools on offer that can take some of the burden off the teachers' shoulders and allow them some time to concentrate on  refining the content of the teaching. 

Such a tool can be found on http://rubistar.4teachers.org/. This site offers a helping hand to teachers who need to prepare rubrics in a short amount of time and of course one can start with the predesigned criteria and then move on, little by little, to customize their own rubrics, depending on the learning activity they want to assess. I used a template I found on this site and I created my rubrics very quickly. It was quite a relief! 

So, let's not reject using rubrics because of fear. The pattern is there for us to follow. Let's jump on the train and start building our own patterns!


  1. Dear Marina,
    I agree with you about most things, but I also feel that many teachers don't improve because they don't want to, they have accommodated to their easy life (or not so easy sometimes).
    I know there show be more ways of teachers getting together and sharing experiences, materials, training, but even when there are these opportunities, you don't see many doing it.
    I believe a change of mentality is necessary. The problem is that the current situation with so many people unemployed and without any prospects of moving up in our careers, is not exactly motivating.

  2. Yes, Luisa, you are right! The socioeconomic environment is not conducive to seeking quality and meaning to work. I can see that, all the more, every day!

    On the other hand, I have noticed more signs of solidarity these days among teachers than before. And this is a good omen that people may start value things differently than they used to.

  3. Hello, Marina!

    You've raised a very serious issue of teachers being reluctant and what is more disturbing unwilling to change their methods of teaching. Unfortunately, we face the same problem in Ukraine.

    I really like your idea of building a community of enthusiastic teachers. It would be great!