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Education and “The Voice”: What’s the Connection?

I have a secret. I like a dose of reality television every once in a while. Not the “Real Housewives” or “Jersey Shore” kind of reality television, but for some reason, for the first time ever, I got sucked into watching “The Voice.” Really, it was a toss up between that and “Dancing with the Stars,” but alas, “The Voice” won out. Maybe it was because DaNica Shirey is from just a few miles down the road from where I currently live. More than likely, however, it was because my six and ten year old girls wanted to watch it with me. So, on Monday and Tuesday nights, (or on demand for those late songs) we’ve curled up to assess the performances.

Incidentally, my girls wanted to know why the assessments of the singers over the last few weeks have generally only been glowing. My very astute six year old pointed out that every singer could get better in one way or another and I tend to agree. Needless to say, I certainly don’t possess a talent for singing, nor do I have the expertise to provide quality feedback. I know nothing about the type of feedback that would require the contestants to reflect and revise in order to grow. I’m sure that the coaches on “The Voice” were providing that level of feedback in the coaching sessions, and we’ve been privy to some of that. However, using “The Voice” as a guide for authenticity, does it get any more authentic than having a national public audience and coaches who are professional and successful singing artists? This is the same approach we should take with authenticity in our own classrooms. While we may not be able to provide students a stage and prime time television coverage, we can provide them with authentic audiences for their final products, presentations, or performances.  Additionally, while we may not be able to acquire coaches on the level of Gwen, Adam, Pharell, and Blake, we can provide them with experts related to the content with which they’ve been tasked to deeply investigate.

In their assessment of the contestants, somehow my girls talked me into voting on Twitter to save certain ones. Me, the girl who lives and breaths that Twitter is for professional and educational tweets, caved and voted to #SaveRyan one week and #SaveChris the next. Here is where it got interesting! My save tweets received a total of 305 and 430 retweets, respectively. Not to mention the fact that those retweets happened in under a minute! That got me to thinking. How can we turn education into a focused, national attention getting endeavor? And by that, I mean one that is found to be worthy of the level of attention that reality television, sporting events, and blockbuster movies garner. In fact, it sounds like we have our challenging investigation for educators around the globe.

Let me know how you would propose to answer the challenge. I look forward to hearing your thoughts via Twitter or in the comments here.

Posted in Assessment.

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