Sunday, September 23, 2012

Quantity v. Quality

For me, quality wins every time.

Yes, I can eat my weight in French fries, but I would give them up for a month to have one order of Thrasher's French fries (if you are from Maryland, you will know what this is without clicking the link, and you will immediately have images of the beach or the Inner Harbor pop into your mind).

I think writing a book is great, but a beautifully crafted poem is just as good (if not better, according to Mark Twain: "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.").

The point here is that we have such an emphasis on getting a lot that we have forgotten about getting quality. I, and consequently, HoneyFern, am all about quality. This makes much more sense when you take the long-view, the research-based position on education (vis-a-vis how people learn and actually remember what they learned, versus how to cram information into a small, expedient box). Students will not get a lot of worksheets and a million grades, but the worksheets they do get will be targeted to the skill they are lacking, and the grades they get will matter and mean something.

We are not factory-model education, and this is a huge adjustment for parents and students. Students don't realize how much more challenging it is to work on projects they design; parents have a hard time seeing the design process as valuable, being more used to seeing percentages on products.

This is okay. It takes a while to adjust and adapt to this new way of thinking, and HoneyFern understands this completely. The best part is that if we do it right, the student is learning the value of this way of working in the pursuit of something they are passionate about, and parents get to see a kid excited and challenged by school and coming home wanting to keep working.

Yes, we get a lot done. We have deadlines and take quizzes, and sometimes I get all rigid and teacher-y with the writing process and high standards (the motto: "Do it right, or do it twice."). Students can't just slap something down or phone it in.

But the quality of the final product is unmistakable and deeper than you could imagine. And that beats quantity, hands-down, every time.

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