Building an Ethic of Caring in the Classroom: Winners and Losers

My Post (3)

See parts 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Philosophically, I do not care for grades, grading, or the culture both perpetuate. I live in a world where grades exist and grading must be done, so as my own philosophy of teaching has tilted closer and closer to the belief that grades and grading should be eliminated, I have learned to think about how to exist the system and meet the needs of students. Some scholars would be disappointed to see me write this as a researcher (Anderson, 2018), but more on this later.

Why this disdain for grades? The short answer is I don’t want to continue to support a system that inherently means some kids win and some kids lose. The catalyst for my philosophy is rooted in my doctoral studies. As I read more, discussed more, and explored my own beliefs about education, I concluded a few years ago that I no longer believe there is a real purpose for grades, and I personally believe they harm learning.

Today’s post does not really call for eliminating grading, but rather more importantly, I will advise on some practical ways to approach a classroom where grades must exist, but they do not have to define the learning. Continue reading