Aussie Friends of Treehorn
protecting school children from nasty excesses of the greedy and misguided
encouraging adults to think sensitively, to care for kids, to make wise choices….with their hearts in gear, their pens active and their votes available.
How Bizarre Can NAPLAN Become?
Imagine. You’re eight years old in a large room sitting at a small desk with lots of other kids, on your own, near your friends but not close enough to touch them. Things are serious. You and your friends all face the same way. Around the room is a number of adults….some trying to smile reassuringly; others seem to be posted around the edges, uncomfortably, like prison guards, daring us, it seems, to do something silly. When a very important person walks in with bundles of paper, the atmosphere becomes tense. You’ve been trained for these NAPLAN tests, so you know that you must appear relaxed.
This is the biggest, most serious show you have ever been a part of….ever…in your life. You’ve been reminded endless times: “Your school depends on you.” You haven’t slept well for a few nights; and you know how concerned your mum and dad are about how well you manage. It’s a worry, when you don’t feel too confident. Everyone seems to be looking at you. This is big stuff. The butterflies in your stomach are flapping around like mad, but you smile at your friends and at your very worried teacher.You’re that duck, looking content, paddling like mad. All seems normal. Then the test paper is placed on your desk.
You throw up! All over the test paper.
Some authorities have a special name for vomit on a test paper, although, in politically correct circles like test manufactories, it’s called Contaminated Test Material. Here are some official instructions from an American authority that supervisors and invigilators must follow to deal with the situation. NAPLANNERS would be expected to do much the same sort of thing. It’s pure NAPLAN vomit after all. The original instructions contained a photo of the child’s opinion of the test……what he landed in he middle of Page 2. Yuk.
As difficult as it is to maintain a straight face when thinking of the outcomes of our testing fanatics’ stunts,……..
In psychological literature, it’s called Somatic Anxiety , a manifestation of cognitive concern that occurs when others expect a level of performance from you that you know you’re uncertain of achieving. It’s a condition that can cause all sorts of mental illnesses and psychic reactions that can last a lifetime…..even without the vomit. It’s a nasty business when it is a direct result of a school’s attitude training that is based on fear of failure instead of on the joy of learning.
Australia’s education system is based on frightening kids with high-level fanatical intensity into such a fear of testing that every pupil might suffer from a life-long psychosomatic disorder of some kind within three years of starting school.
I wish that we could be proud of something else.
Make sure you watch John Oliver in this article : http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/05/john-oliver-standardized-testing