Teacher Lets Kids Decide What They Learn Instead of Tests!

One question – where was she when I was in school?!

One school in Maine is a little different from others in the world. Instead of standardized tests and a Christian-centric holiday schedule, each classroom has its own library and every religious holiday is celebrated.


Classes choose which subjects they learn about and which books they read – and get this, they go through about 40 each year, far above the national average for most adults, let alone children.

All of this is due to the brilliance of one teacher, Nancie Atwell.


Atwell has been teaching for 25 years and created the idea of a Center for Teaching. Her philosophy revolves around giving kids choices and encouraging them to be creative. She believes that if students can invest in their learning, they will discover the joys of true curiosity and passion.


The Guardian reports that Atwell was recently presented with the first ever Global Teacher Prize which comes with a $1 million award. What did she do with the money? Well, she didn’t retire and travel the world as I’m sure many teachers – and people for that matter, myself included – might. Rather, she put all of the money directly into the school’s book buying fund.

Students aren’t the only ones who benefit from what the Center for Teaching has to offer. Teachers from around the globe are also offered internships where they can learn from Atwell’s methods and find things to implement into their own practices.

Atwell says:

“Teachers are being essentially asked to be technicians, to read a script, and the script is not valid. Test scores are all that counts right now. It’s all data analysis, metrics and accountability.”

Image sources: west-info.eu, globalteacherprize.org, timeinc.net, patch.com, globalteacherprize.org, varkeyfoundation.org

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