Practices of educational assessment through standardisation and testing are byproducts of a bygone era. As grades become the very goals of education, learning suffers, along with the well-being of both students and teachers. Proposed here is a relational alternative to the assessment tradition. In this relational vision, schools no longer function as factories, but as sites of collective meaning-making. We highlight that it is within the process of relating that the world comes to be what it is for us. We draw from this process our understandings of the world, of ourselves within it, and of what is meaningful and good. Both learning and well-being are thus the fruits of the relational process, which assessment practices through testing undermine.
A relational orientation to educational evaluation is thus proposed, with two primary features:
The first is a focus on valuing and co-inquiring, where all stakeholders in education engage in continuous deliberation on the meaningfulness and values in educative activities and experiences;
The second is an emphasis on adding values to education, by fostering learning, enhancing student’s participation in learning, engendering sustained engagement, and enriching the relational process itself.
Measurement-based assessment has dominated our educational systems at the expense of the learning and the well-being of students and teachers. In this book, Gergen and Gill propose a radical alternative to this broken system, which is based instead on an inspirational conception of schools as sites of collective meaning-making and a relational orientation to evaluation. The authorsacknowledge that it is within the process of relating that the world comes to be meaningful for us, and equally, learning and well-being are embedded in relational process, which testing and grades undermine.
Providing detailed illustrations using cases from pioneering schools around the globe at both the primary and secondary level, this book demonstrates how a relational orientation to evaluation in education can enhance learning processes, foster students’ engagement and vitality relationships, and elevate the evaluation of teaching and the school as a whole. Featuring collaborative learning, dialogic pedagogy, and flexible curricula, relational evaluation truly speaks to the demands of a rapidly changing world.
The book offers a compelling alternative to the measurement-assessment orientation to evaluation that undermines learning and well-being in schools today. It improves on the patchy critiques of testing and grading by offering a coherent account of the historical and cultural assumptions on which the measurement-testing tradition is based. The succinctly-articulated theoretical framework inspires the possibility of a relational approach to evaluation of learning, teaching, and the whole school experience. The concrete, classroom-rooted practices can stimulate discussions among school leaders and policy makers.
In this dialogue, we explored the conceptual foundation for educational transformation, and how relational practices such as deep listening and dialogue might contribute to systemic change. Through this dialogue, we illustrated the potentials of a relational vision for regenerative education. Favoured by this vision is the thriving of innovation, co-inquiry, inclusion and collaboration for the global good.
Education as Relating: A Global Online Conference on 4-6 November 2021 The world is ready … the future is at hand … for replacing assembly-line classrooms with the vitalising powers of relating. The directions are clear: from standardisation to dialogue, from control to co-creation, from regimentation…
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