There’s an old saying that is the basis of my personal teaching belief, it goes, "Give students a thought and they will learn for a day. Teach them to think and they will learn for a lifetime."
An educator’s goal should be twofold: 1. teach students core subject matter and 2. teach students how to think and provide inquiry-based learning opportunities in order to flex their thinking abilities.
If teachers do both these things throughout the school year, it should eliminate last minute cramming of material and skills before the test that stresses everyone involved. I tell my students on the first day of school that one of my primary goals is to guide them in such a way that they could be presented any problem or assignment and be able to problem-solve and reason out an answer(s) on their own, as well as, justify or explain their answer.
I use the following commercial for United Airlines to inspire my students to think about the direction that they want to take with their lives. As we begin MAP testing and it’s time to put all the skills that we’ve learned and practiced throughout the year, I tell them, "It’s Time to Fly."
Caliri, Jamie; Duck Studio. Fallon Worldwide. United Airlines Commericial. "Dragon." 2006. http://www.united.com/page/genericpage/1,,51526,00.html (2006)
It’s Time to Fly Poster Soyeon Kim; Duck Studio. United Airlines Print Ad. "Time to Fly." 2006