Thats the question that Kate Quarfordt asks in this excellent piece about the National Theater for Student Artists , a place where kids work on original productions that are performed for real audiences in New York City. These are kids who understand “high stakes” isn’t really about a test as much as it is producing quality work for a real audience that, in the end, will either like it…or not. Here’s the money quote:
“If we made it a priority to help every classroom in America feel less like a test-prep bootcamp and more like an NTSA rehearsal — where students learned content in order to connect meaningfully with others in authentically high-stakes contexts — I’m willing to bet that our graduates would be far better prepared for college, career and citizenship.”
Hard to argue with.
Would love to hear your thoughts on what “high stakes” learning should look like. And here’s a bit of what we think:
One thing that technology and the Web specifically has brought to our lives is the ability to share and publish our work to an audience of potentially billions. For many, that’s a daunting fact. But it’s a new reality for our children that we think needs to be explored more deeply, especially in schools.
Like it or not, our kids are living in a much more transparent world. On many levels, it’s a more complex existence. But the idea that even our younger kids can do real work for real audiences that can change the world is amazing and, we think, a great opportunity. The National Theater for the Arts is a great example of doing that at a local level. The Web opens up that potential in untold ways, from the simple idea that performances can now also be streamed live online, to the more complex idea of building a global community around ideas that matter and have consequence. Take for instance the WeStopHate site which was started by a 16-year-old who had been bullied at school and wanted to create a community to support other kids who were victims of bullying as well. One girl who has now influenced tens of thousands of lives in a positive way.
When we do work for real audiences, we raise the stakes for meaning and purpose, and we think that’s a good thing.