What matters is that ALL children and young people understand that data, tests and exams does not a great learner make. Sitting tests and exams is only a measure of what they have memorised, learned and can do to the best of their ability on a test or examination paper. These tests and exams do not measure their unique talents, their kindness and relationships with others, the way in which they conduct themselves as human beings, their aspirations and magical ingredients which will, in the future come to the fore but not necessarily during these testing stages.
What matters is that everyone who sits a test or exam is emotionally secure and feels safe in that environment so that they can do their absolute best at that given time. It is not the measure of their creative and independent thinking but merely a snapshot of what they can achieve during that particular session, and at times what a session at that! In the grand scheme of learning, it’s an opportunity to gain a certificate, grade or number in recognition of what the tests require them to carry out in a very short space of time. It’s only a small percentage of life long learning and the personal development of a human being. But what matters is that we, as professionals, ensure that each child and young person sees the bigger picture with regards to these testing sessions. There is always another opportunity to sit tests and exams if all does not go as well or as they would have hoped. It is not the end of the world and we must ensure they know this. Intelligence cannot be defined by exams as reported in this article a few years ago which I sometimes return to from time to time.
What matters is that we prepare each child and young person to understand and cope with emotional changes and experiences that will occur during this time. To know how to manage and deal with anxiety. To realise that we as individuals create our own anxiety, and with the right tools and strategies can also develop effective and powerful coping mechanisms. Know and understand that these emotional changes can impact on cognitive processing and reasoning yet through effective management, can be kept under control.
What matters is that teaching children and young people how to deal with emotional upset and turmoil has to be carried out before any type of revision session for exams and testing.
What matters is that every child and young person knows that they have support and care from professionals, family and friends during these challenging times.
What matters during the testing and examination season is that children and young people get copious amounts of fresh air, as healthier a diet as possible, drink plenty of water and a good amount of restful sleep. Even the occasional ‘nap’ is good for us, regardless of age.
What matters is that children and young people can only do their best and their best does not always mean top marks, grades or numbers. Best is best for the individual.
What matters is that the children and young people realise that people who set these tests and exams do not know them as individuals, like we do as teachers, parents or carers, and knowing them for their unique magical ingredients is what counts.
What matters is that every child and young person knows what they are truly worth as a valued and cared for human being.
What matters is we make sure as teachers we too look after ourselves and value the contribution that we make in helping children and young people.
What matters is you need to look after yourself in a way which is conducive to support your mental and emotional needs to help children and young people at this difficult time, and know it’s hard for you too.
What matters is that we all look out for and support each other. Reach out a helping hand when needed. Just be the individuals that we are and be the best that we can be.
What do you think matters during the testing and examination season?
I’d love to know your thoughts.
Always remember, YOU matter.
Nina Jackson @musicmind
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