STEAM Job descriptions for Curriculum Planning




Using job descriptions can facilitate program planning and student learning. A job description provides us with rich opportunities to extract content areas, learning goals, success criteria, and rich tasks for learning. It just doesn’t matter if the position is paid or not, volunteer or mandatory. The point is that you will often find key information about skills that are important in our world today, and perhaps discover more relevant ways to teach those skills.

In my quest to make learning relevant for students, I have begun to look at job postings for S.T.E.A.M. related work, and think about ways that I can apply them to the curriculum. There are a great number of possibilities that crop up when we consider how our curriculum can be interpreted through the lens of a real job.

Consider the following job description in blue. As you review it, consider the cross-curricular, and integrated learning opportunities that may present themselves. Consider the project-based learning opportunities you can use to help students gain the necessary skills to apply for this job. Where do various technologies fit into this picture?

Check it out: 



Organization: Ministry of Transportation
Division: Provincial Highways Management
City: London
Job Term: 1 Permanent
Job Code: 12682 – Engineering Services Officer 3
$1,122.02 – $1,410.37 Per Week*
*Indicates the salary listed as per the OPSEU Collective Agreement.
Understanding the job ad – definitions

Posting Status:

Job ID:
Apply Online
View Job Description
Are you looking for a new challenge? Would you like to apply your knowledge of civil engineering technology and computer abilities in a new way?
Consider this opportunity in structural design while contributing to the safety of Ontario’s transportation system.

What can I expect to do in this role?

In this role you will:
• Prepare scale drawings depicting bridge details and materials for review and approval;
• Prepare associated contract documentation according to Ministry standards using required software;
Review bridge site plans and preliminary geometry information supplied by consultants;
• Carry out quantity calculations and cost estimates;
• Provide and assist in the training of regional staff in bridge inspections, in the use of computerized bridge detailing systems and bridge management systems;
• Provide interpretation of standards, specifications and policies as required;
• Assist in bridge inspections by carrying out inspection of simple structures, and updating and maintaining related databases;
• Provide technical guidance, training and advice to junior staff on bridge drafting and contract preparations, durability and construction issues with complex structural details and innovative techniques ensuring safety and economy;
• Answer queries on technical issues from other jurisdictions as required.

How do I qualify?

(aka learning goals and success criteria, criteria for rubrics and other assessment methods)

Knowledge of Bridge Design

• You have knowledge and skills in the design, detailing and contract preparation of provincial bridge contracts.
• You have knowledge and skills to be able to inspect bridges.
• You have knowledge in bridge design and detailing principles, and ability to consider various constraints such as materials, fabrication and production techniques.
• You have practical working knowledge of the varied and complex safety issues related to the design of bridges.

Communication Skills

• You have well-developed oral and written communication and presentation skills.
• You can use consultation skills to identify needs and maintain effective working relationships with regions and other functional teams
• You are committed to customer service.

Research and Project Planning Skills

• You can understand and interpret engineering plans and profiles, technical reports and relevant codes of practice.
• You have knowledge of project planning in order to design, detail, implement, lead and manage a number of concurrent projects of varying degrees complexity, individually or within a team environment.
• You have demonstrated analytical, planning, scheduling, project management and work coordination skills.

Computer Skills

• You can use computer systems and their applications, including Computer Aided Design (CAD) systems and database systems.

Now that you have had a chance to look at this, tell me you are not inspired by the sheer opportunities to connect science, math, technology and literacy? How many skills can be extracted and channeled into balanced literacy and math activities? How many rich tasks can be created? What projects and inquiries can be facilitated? How will they culminate into an end of unit(s) assessment task that includes applying for this job?
How can we help students figure out what they need to do next in order to ‘prove’ that they have the skills to apply?
What if my students were given a small bank of job descriptions, and they need to choose one that looks interesting that they will apply for.
Here are a few steps to consider:
1. Conduct your hypothetical job search
3. Teach the feedback skills that enable all students to engage in higher quality feedback and assessment as learning processes.
4. Find the Big Ideas
5. Plan your projects, centers, and assessment protocol.
6. Reflect
7. Share
Job searching can provide key information into the skills and knowledge that are important in our world. They can even help inform our curriculum planning and instructional design. Next time you are wondering how to infuse math, science, literacy and more into your short and long range plans, consider starting with a job search.
Deborah McCallum
c 2016

Is Assessment also an Inquiry?

Assessing reading ability is a very difficult task. This is because reading is very complex. What exactly are readers doing when they read? How do they understand what they read?

At this day in age, I think we are more aware that reading is one of the most important skills that we need. It is the foundation for all other subjects and many learning skills, and determines academic achievement in the future. In fact, Sammons, Thomas and Mortimore (1997) demonstrated correlations of 80% between reading at age seven and subsequent achievement scores.



The best assessments are those that help educators to make better instructional decisions. But before we can make any decisions, we need to start with our questions and hypotheses. What assessments do we need and why? Will one assessment strategy suit the whole class? Will I need 28 different assessment strategies for 28 different students? What needs do my learners have?

Literacy Assessment in and of itself is really a process of inquiry for teachers. We start with our questions, hypotheses, background knowledge of the learners. Next we begin a process of measuring our learning and deciding where to go next to answer our questions. We evaluate our findings, and make new inquiries. There is never just one question to ask, nor is there just one way to measure, one way to evaluate, or one decision to make. These variables are as complex as our students.

However, despite how complex assessment is, we still know there to be assessment strategies and tools that help learners to become better readers. How do we choose the most appropriate assessments? Each assessment strategy has its own function, and because reading is so complex, a range of strategies works very well. Strategies range from formal, to informal, and encompass assessment of,as and for learning.

Assessment for learning and formative assessments can be integrated into daily activities. It also works well for diagnostic purposes. Assessment becomes an integral part of our Inquiries into student reading.


Assessment Strategies

The following are but a few strategies that we can use for monitoring student progress in reading include

  • Teacher-Student conferences
  • Running Records
  • Learner Profiles
  • Portfolios
  • Word Recognition lists
  • Oral Reading
  • Retelling
  • Self-Assessment

This is certainly not an exhaustive list by any means. But it is a good starting point. I will not go into them all here, but will give a little more information about the importance of reading portfolios, because they have the ability to encompass all assessment opportunities.


Reading Portfolios are an excellent way to record classroom assessment information. Students or teachers can add to this. They can contain a wide variety of work related to student reading and are a purposeful collection of student work. They truly allow for a combination of assessment for, as and of learning. Owned by learner, told in learner voice, they are a great way to demonstrate knowledge, comprehension, fluency, and more. THey can be in video or audio format as well. A great way to gather information about reading needs, progress, difficulties. What items are least important and can be removed from portfolios. Portfolios increase metacognitive awareness and reflection, but students need to also understand the precise success criteria.


However, just as with the ‘Inquiry Process’, we start with our questions about our learners. What do they need? Where are they going? How will they get there? No easy answers, but definitely more questions and possibilities.



Some other important things to keep in mind about reading assessment:

  • Reflection about learning is important to informing how to procede with instruction of literacy skills
  • Use of technology for reading instruction calls for purposeful planning and critical assessment of student learning needs
  • Includes print, electronic, and other community resources
  • Implemented after ample teaching strategies that have helped students to make connections between learning and real life
  • Conducted in a collaborative and safe learning environment
  • Equitable and representative of different interests, cultures, needs and styles
  • Are communicated in meaningful ways with parents and guardians

Reading assessment is only valuable in how it reflects the reading strategies implemented in class. Ultimately, how will we use our inquiries about student reading to formatively assess students and prepare them for the culminating tasks?


Strategies that Support Reading Assessment: 


  1. A lot of pre-reading discussion
  2. Graphic organizers before, during and after reading
  3. Scaffolding comprehension texts – preview and discuss text features first
  4. Daily read-alouds and think alouds with a variety of media and texts
  5. Opportunities to make predictions and disucss in shared reading
  6. Explicitly teaching semantic, syntactic and graphophonic cueing systems
  7. Language-experience texts
  8. Subject-specific and cross-curricular reading materials
  9. Time for students to read each day
  10. Help students choose the just right book
  11. Small group work with English speaking peers
  12. Anticipation guides to assess pre-reading beliefs
  13. Make predictions in pre-reading based on visuals
  14. Make preditions based on first sentence, first paragraph, key text
  15. Adopt roles of different characters while reading Readers Theater Texts
  16. Create a story map or timeline as a visual representation of main features of the story
  17. Introduce music, chants, poems etc. to reinforce expressions and patterned speech. Keep a collection of them for re-reading.
  18. Read first language or dual-reading books
  19. Model how to skim and scan texts for pre-reading
  20. Jigsaw reading where each student becomes and expert on one section of reading and then shares
  21. Literature circles for opportunities for a student to share about a book
  22. Deepen understanding of text by taking on role of character in the hot seat


And as we move back to more questions, assessments, and strategies, we embark on new inquiries about reading and the reading proficiency of our students. Indeed, reading truly is the most important skills that our students can take forth with them into the future.

What inquiries are you currently asking about a learner or learners?



Deborah McCallum



Sammons, P., Thomas, S., & Mortimore, P. (1997). Forging links: Effective schools and effective departments. London: Paul Chapman.

Wu, R., Wu, R., & Lu, J. (2014). A practice of reading assessment in a primary classroom. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 4(1), 1-7. Retrieved from

Instructional and Assessment Design Strategies


When working with our young readers, the way we design our instruction and assessment has a significant impact on the development of proficiency. Without a doubt, the strategies that we implement in our planning and development will need to be based on assessed student need, interest, and of course, within the context of universal design and differentiated instruction. Our theoretical foundations, including theories of exceptionality will affect how we adapt our programs and have a particularly significant impact on how our diverse learners become better readers.


Cross-curricular instruction, using real-life experiences, and personal interests all become part of our action plans for supporting struggling readers. However, we also need to ensure that we are using evidence-based practices to create learning environments that reflect the ethical standards of our profession. Our instructional and assessment strategies are proven to support struggling readers, including students who are English Language Learners (ELL).


The following Instructional and Assessment Strategies are essential to supporting struggling readers, including ELL readers. How you design and implement these strategies for your own instruction and assessment needs, will reflect your own contexts and learning environments. In addition, these strategies work best when implemented in a safe and supportive learning environment that contributes to the equity of reading outcomes for all students.


They are based on Information from the Edugains Website:

Please keep in mind that there are multiple forms of assessment that can be used in reading, and Language Learning is developmental. It involves experimentation and approximation. You need to trust your professional judgement, and seek out professional consultation where necessary. Collaboration and moderation is key to providing reliable instructional and assessment methods.


Instructional Strategies:


  1. A lot of pre-reading discussion
  2. Graphic organizers before, during and after reading
  3. Scaffolding comprehension texts – preview and discuss text features first
  4. Daily read-alouds and think alouds with a variety of media and texts
  5. Opportunities to make predictions and disucss in shared reading
  6. Explicitly teaching semantic, syntactic and graphophonic cueing systems
  7. Language-experience texts
  8. Subject-specific and cross-curricular reading materials
  9. Time for students to read each day
  10. Help students choose the just right book
  11. Small group work with English speaking peers
  12. Anticipation guides to assess pre-reading beliefs
  13. Make predictions in pre-reading based on visuals
  14. Make preditions based on first sentence, first paragraph, key text
  15. Adopt roles of different characters while reading Readers Theater Texts
  16. Create a story map or timeline as a visual representation of main features of the story
  17. Introduce music, chants, poems etc. to reinforce expressions and patterned speech. Keep a collection of them for re-reading.
  18. Read first language or dual-reading books
  19. Model how to skim and scan texts for pre-reading
  20. Jigsaw reading where each student becomes and expert on one section of reading and then shares
  21. Literature circles for opportunities for a student to share about a book
  22. Deepen understanding of text by taking on role of character in the hot seat

I am sure that you already have key design ideas for incorporating more cross-curricular connections as well.



Possible Assessment Strategies:



  • Portfolios: Help students to see progress over time, recognize quality work and share with parents.
  • Create Goal-setting checklists
  • Opportunities for assessment for, as and of learning
  • Provide assessment in students first language if necessary – access experts for that
  • Use effective rubrics, but provide differentiated opportunities for students to express their comprehension, decoding, metacognition orally and in writing
  • Google Forms for Assessment:
    1. When I run guided reading groups, I also like to fill out google forms. I change them based on the expectations / skills I am looking at. But the most important thing that comes of this are the anecdotal comments I make. I end up with amazing spreadsheets of comments that I am able to find patterns with. It is also amazing at how often I forget the nuances, but then can achieve a much clearer picture:)


How do you take your reading strategies and design your Instruction and Assessment to improve reading skills?



Deborah McCallum

c 2015

Equity in Assessment

Research on multicultural groups including Black, Hispanic, First Nation, and ESL suggests that standards based reforms, large scale assessments, implementation of standards based reforms are unfair (Volante, 2008).

We run into problems when the big data is always used to prove what works in education, for instance, why we need Librarians, more standardized texts for guided reading, or to continue to teach from perspectives of dominant culture.

We need education that includes librarians, FNMI perspectives and multicultural approaches because that is what makes education work. That is what promotes equity and inclusion.

We should need education, FNMI perspectives, Librarians, funding and more because they promote equity with our students. Not because the high stakes testing shows that they support student achievement. We will only be able to achieve equity when we allow the variable of ‘equity’ to be a multi-dimensional construct. It is schools, families, and local communities that help close the achievement gap.

Do we need to have high-stakes standardized testing in order to compel schools to improve their instructional approaches? Is this really the only way?  We need to be careful that we are not assuming that standardized testing is anything other than an oversimplification of learning.

Those schools with more multi-cultural groups, and FNMI cultures, often feel compelled to narrow the curriculum just to boost test scores. Simply talking about how a standardized test is ‘culture-free’ or culturally relevant does not quite capture the challenges faced by different populations of people. It also only recognizes the test developers as the ones that can make significant changes to our tests to promote equity.

Also, traditional paper and pencil tests favour certain populations because it measures only certain skills and types of knowledge. We live in an era where we are trying to promote and recognize and acknowledge different types of knowledge. It just seems to me that standardized tests promote a ‘hidden curriculum’.

My point is that the curriculum can become narrow, and time spent preparing for areas of importance as deemed by high stakes testing.

Volante (2008) argued that assessment equity is a multifaceted construct based on technical quality, reporting, utilization and educational opportunity. I won’t go into those variables here, but I think that it is very important to know that equity is more than just the language and ideas on a standardized test. The fact is that our intentions and actual outcomes of these assessments are often incongruent, and the research continually demonstrates unintended consequences for Black, Hispanic, First Nations and ESL students (Volante, 2008). They simply do not do as well as their white counterparts. As a result, Multicultural and FNMI students are disenchanted or disengaged with school. Are we inadvertently limiting someones life chances just because of our obsession with standardized testing? Do we care more about schooling than education?

What if we stopped limiting our students and teachers by the language that we use, and gave ourselves permission to teach outside of the bounds of our standardized assessments? Curriculum definitely is more than our documents and assessments would have us all believe.

What does curriculum and assessment mean to you?

Deborah McCallum


Volante, L. (2008). Equity in multicultural student assessment. The Journal of Educational Thought, 42(1), 11-26. Retrieved from

The Formal Assessment of Literacy Skills


There are several key reasons that need to be involved with formally assessing student literacy:

First, we can gain key diagnostic information about the current skills that our students have. We also can glean key information about the previous knowledge and experiences of our students through meaningful diagnostic assessments.

Second, it provides opportunities for students to practice new skills and gain knowledge. These assessments can be the conduit to meaningful feedback for students to take their learning forward. It also helps us as educators to know where we need to take our learning next.

Finally, we hope that we can gain evidence to see if our students have improved over time, and gain evidence that we are in fact providing high quality instruction for learning.

Assessment strategies are also clearly defined in the Growing Success document as Assessment for, of and as learning.

Please watch the following video to learn more about assessment for, of and as learning:

However, in my experience, assessment strategies are not ‘stand-alone’ entities that we bestow upon our students to obtain grades. Likewise, quality assessment is not necessarily synonymous with quality ‘feedback’. I discuss this more in my new book ‘The Feedback Friendly Classroom’ set to be published this fall.


We need to be clear that assessment is an absolutely essential process that is more than just a cause-and-effect variable where students show what they have learned, teacher grades their work, gives feedback, and we move along to the next unit.

Assessment as, for and of learning is key for students and teachers alike. However, we need to make sure that it is embedded within a framework of ongoing and professional reflection and dialogue that informs our theory and practice of teaching literacy. This in turn provides key information for more purposeful planning of our literacy programs.


At this day in age, a lot of our purposeful planning also includes the critical and effective use of technology for literacy as well. This purposeful use of technology can be harnessed in ways that fosters social cohesion and collaborative communities of learners in safe, and inclusive and respectful environments.

Regardless of how we are innovating and evolving in the 21st century, we will always be in need for appropriate and equitable assessment practices, that are varied in nature, and conducted over periods of time. Preferably interrelated with other subjects, and with the 6 C’s as described by Michael Fullan in the NPDL global initiative. Essentially we need to provide key opportunities for diverse learners to demonstrate their learning. This can be done with well crafted assessment procedures.

We can think beyond the test and the worksheet to evaluate student learning. We are allowed to think outside of the box, we can be brave and be bold with our pedagogies for learning.


However, the strategies do not need to necessarily be technology based. At the heart of assessment for, as and of learning are ultimately relationships. Relationships help us to build meaning around the learning goals, and thus assessment strategies should also be holistic, and interpersonal in ways that don’t just support learning, but also support relationships around that learning. How you use the strategies in your particular context may also be more important that What strategies you use to assess.

The following is a thinglink that can be used as a guide for thinking about assessment for various literacy learning skills:


Harnessing Assessment strategies for Communication

We can harness technologies for continuous strategies for communicating with home and community. Technologies can include, but not be limited to ePortfolios, Blogging, Google Drive, email, and an app such as Remind or SeeSaw for sending regular visual and textual information about what and how students are learning in class. This is of course, in addition to regular letters going home, agendas, and ongoing communication in person and phone with parents.


Professional collaboration, including moderation, to support student learning.

The ability to meet with our colleagues is absolutely essential to keeping our assessment practices the highest quality they can be. This is a great way to re-calibrate our understandings of the assessment criteria, and what our students are doing to meet that criteria. Teacher moderation is a form of teacher collaboration for assessment purposes. It cannot be taken lightly. Though it is difficult to find time to engage in moderation, it is very beneficial for helping colleagues to obtain reliable assessment data.


What strategies do you use to assess literacy skills with your students? 

In your opinion, how does assessment inform pedagogy, and vice versa? 

Deborah McCallum

c 2016

Teacher Moderation & Assessment in the age of Knowledge and Innovation

I think it behooves us to ask ourselves whether collaborative assessment practices including moderation, is different now that we are headed into 2016 – versus what it looked like in 2006? The process of grading and assessing students is very subjective, and it always has been – but with so much information, technology, globalization, opportunities and access – can we still reach consistency with our assessments?

We know that the more people engaging and collaborating, the more accurate our assessments can become. When we reach a consensus, we are better able to fill the gaps in for student learning. We can create shared interpretations of the expectations and create a better culture of equity, consistency and reliability in all of our forms of assessment.

To me, however, this also means that we need to have more formal, concrete samples of student work to assess. Further, the classes also must be consistent in assessment for, as and of learning. Therefore, I wonder if this means that all teachers engaged in moderation need to be doing the same things with all of their students? To this extent, how does innovation, inquiry, and unique cultures play into the moderation process?

Certainly, honest dialogue about how we assess our students is vitally important, as is the ability to negotiate the assessment process with other educators. This leads me to ask, who or what is driving the learning? Is it students individual learning needs? Is it the curriculum expectations? Is it our need to have data? This of course then leads me to a host of other questions including, what is curriculum? All of these questions will have an impact on the assessment processes. Can we moderate vastly different sources of assessment data and still come to a consensus? If individual student needs are different between classrooms and schools, boards etc., can we all come to a consensus for moderating student learning?

It is that fine balance of variables that we need to negotiate how we asses – especially as we plan with the end of a chunk of learning in mind. Regardless of how we all end our units, are we all expected to achieve the same kind of learning? Is that even possible? Can we achieve high quality learning even with vastly different tasks?

Our next steps and goals should always be to take our students to the next level. But I am not sure if this looks fundamentally the same across schools, or if it even should. I certainly believe that we can engage our students in parallel tasks where they are working to similar learning goals but with different tasks. Each educational context will require its own unique blend of differentiated instructional strategies and universal design elements as well. We also need to ensure that we engage in purposeful planning for the critical and effective use of technology. I do believe that we all can reach similar learning goals even if we are ever expanding our teaching strategies. Likewise, I think that it takes skill to be able to conduct appropriate and equitable assessment and evaluation practices. Equitable assessment is varied and administered over periods of time to enable students to make important connections between the learning in the classroom and real life experiences. Regardless of how innovative we get, we still come back to the categories of achievement and levels of learning that we must apply on our report cards.

Now that we are nearing 2016, I am wondering if the research and ideas that dominated our views of assessment for, as and of learning in 2006, still apply in the same ways now that we have access to information and technology in ways that did not exist. Opportunities for globalization and new forms of collaboration and knowledge building exist now that did not 10 years ago. Can we, and should we be continuing to collaborate and moderate in the same ways that we have been over the past 10 years?

The fact is, collaboration is emotionally and intellectually demanding. In what ways does it need to be done in 2015/2016 that are different than in 2005/2006?

Deborah McCallum

Copyright, 2015

Math Differentiation with Open Ended Questions

Rich Questions in Math for Differentiation by idmccallum on GoAnimate

GoAnimate and Math

Are you a Holistic Educator? Or a Dancing Monkey?

Holistic teaching involves more than just curriculum expectations and standardized testing. It is about teaching our students to connect their own feelings, emotions, and experiences with the knowledge to create meaning. Teaching holistically is important to foster a culture of inclusiveness, cooperation, and empathy in our classrooms.

We may understand the philosophy behind the holistic approach, but why then is it so difficult to implement? This is not an easy question to answer, especially in an age where standardized tests & scoring methods, and limited time frames to teach curriculum are a driving motivation for many educators.

So my question is, should we teach holistic teaching practices as add ons to our standardized pedagogies and practices?  OR do we abandon ‘teaching to the test’ practices for holistic teaching methods? Can it, or should it, even be both?!?

In his paper on the Transformational view of teaching, Johnson (2005), asks the poignant question,

  • are public schools are merely 13-year conveyor belts where all students march along, being given standardized parts at predetermined times?

This is a very important question to ask, because we can never truly expect to lead all students to a standardized set of predetermined outcomes or conclusions. We understand that emotions, feelings, thoughts, and personal experiences inextricably interact with information to create new knowledge.

As Johnson (2005) states,

  • ‘if standards become standardized, then we risk opportunities to create caring, intelligent, and self-actualized people. Education is not something that is done to students, it is something that students do’.

Therefore, transforming our own teaching philosophies and skill sets into a more Holistic approach is vital to creating a meaningful education and promoting a strong sense of Community, Culture, and Caring.

Holistic education is:

  • Based on interconnectedness. This is also a key value to embed that respects FNMI cultures.
  • Infusing meaning, consciousness & interconnectedness into the curriculum
  • Helping students to discover their full potential
  • Allowing educators and students alike to perceive the interconnectedness of all life systems
  • transforming our consciousness

Interconnectedness is vital because it really helps students to understand themselves, effectively engage in problem solving, make decisions, and effectively use emotion and intuition in all settings. We as educators need to not merely present the facts and the reasoning, but also attend to the emotions and how personal feelings can inform us about our actions and the actions of others.

How to foster Interconnectedness:

  • Explore students’ personal experiences and create welcoming environments
  • Learn to live in harmony with others and other life systems
  • Facilitate an understanding of how the lives of students affect or connect with others around the world
  • Teach the Seven Grandfather Teachings and help students to walk their own ‘Good Paths’ in life.

Educators do still need to define the knowledge and skills that needs to be learned within the curriculum, and we will always need to be aware of our skills sets and employ them as teachers, however, we can still help students explore what it means to be human in the world. Despite the fact that this is not something that is easily quantified, and therefore, often left out of most curriculum and lesson plans, we can work to infuse it into our practice.

How Pedagogy can inform practice:

  • Utilize yourself as an educator to create meaningful experiences for students, and be open to students authentic experiences and how those can shape the learning in class.
  • Engage in inquiry based learning and teaching, where questions are just as important as answers
  • Attend to the everyone’s internal states, ie., emotions, intuition, consciousness, values
  • Embed First Nations, Metis & Inuit cultures, values and knowledge throughout the curriculum and pedagogy.

Authentic Assessment:

Holistic teaching also incorporates Authentic assessment strategies. Assessment should not merely be about testing a core set of knowledge in and of itself. Therefore, it is important to continually assess students’ evolution toward personal goals and examine extent to which students are engaged in meaningful experiences (Johnson, 2005).

Assessment and evaluation does not need to merely be tied directly to the content within the curriculum, but can, and should, be about linking it to students personal thoughts and emotions. If we as educators want to engage in holistic teaching practices, we need to help our students to understand and learn that there is more than one way to complete a task, and that thinking is fluid and can always be changed. We also need to promote a freedom of expression, encourage deeper and more creative thinking, and to always have fun with learning!

Final Thoughts:

It is not just about adopting a ‘holistic’ teaching philosophy, it is about creating your own teaching philosophy that is holistic in nature. It is also about incorporating interconnectedness, emotions, intuitions, experiences, and consciousness of yourself as an educator, and of your students. It is a personal approach, that will inform your own philosophy, and will look different with every new learner you are working with.


 Johnson, A. P. (2005). I Am a Holistic Educator, Not a Dancing Monkey. Encounter, 18(4), 36-40.

 Deborah McCallum

© Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education, 2012 – 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.