Passing The Test

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been revising for my summer exams. One day, I was practising for my Spanish Listening and did a mock exam. When I went back to check my answers, I was disappointed to find that I had barely scraped a pass. I had understood the vast majority of the audio, but didn’t write the exact answers the markscheme required. I went for my dinner very frustrated.

Later that evening, I had a Skype call with a family friend from Madrid. We spoke for an hour in Castilian Spanish. I had no problems understanding them, felt confident speaking and learnt some new vocabulary.

The difference?

Learning the markscheme and doing well on an exam doesn’t prove I’m good at Spanish. Languages, in my opinion, are primarily about communicating. (My friend said on that same call that I speak better Castilian Spanish than them!) 

Someone who works for my Dad has been driving on their family farm for years. They are a very competent driver. Yet, because they still haven’t passed their Driving Theory Test, they technically “can’t drive”.

In our education system, we’re taught (and have to learn) how to “Pass The Test”.

But is this really learning? Does this teach us to improve and want to learn or to simply comply? 

Most learning seems to happen outside the classroom.