You Are Not a Number
by George Couros
In this section, I will be reviewing "You Are Not a Number" by George Couros. In this article, George emphasizes the importance of remembering that all of the numbers that drive our research are individuals. Each number used represents a free thinking individual with their own hopes, dreams, and fears.
George states "Do not forget our students are human beings with unique needs, characteristics, qualities, and should be treated accordingly." This is a statement that I agree with completely. As educators, it is vital that we remember to put the students' needs first, even if they are not our own. When we start thinking of individuals as numbers on paper, we lose the purpose of our profession. Instead of "data driven" George prefers the term "evidence informed." Once again I couldn't agree more. In addition to this, I believe we should consider ourselves "student driven" because at the end of the day, they are what matter most.
As a future music educator, I found this section of the blog to be very important: "When you see your students perform an amazing musical, or create an incredible work of art, is that evidence of learning, or do you want to reduce what they have done to a letter or number? As soon as you do that, you jeopardize the 'artist' losing the love of the art." The arts are something that cannot be reduced to a statistic. When someone tries to do this, everything that it's made of, feelings, creativity, and passion is lost.
In the end, George states that numbers are important to our practice. However, numbers should be used in benefit of the students, rather than in definement. Afterwards' he shares a personal story about taking a calculus course in college. In it, he struggled to understand the content and barely passed the class. To his professor, George was just a name on a piece of paper. He uses this experience to make a connection "Let's not take the most human profession in existence, and reduce it to letters and numbers. Our kids need more from us." Teaching is about building better individuals. It is a service to humanity. If we take sfudents and turn them into numbers, we forget what our profession stands for.
I could not agree with George any more passionately on this issue. He discusses the importance of remembering the students as individuals, not as numbers. Statistics can (and should) be used in our profession but only to benefit our students. I strongly recommend this article and any other on George's site. He blogs frequently on current issues in schools.