There are few things that exasperate me more than the notion of teachers basing practice on getting students ‘ready for the next grade/high school/university’. It’s not that I find the concept inherently faulty. In fact, on premise alone, it’s a fantastic notion: build prerequisite and fundamental skills so students are prepared for larger challenges in the future. The real problem is that these statements usually signal a defeatist mentality more than anything else.
I have to give a lot of homework because that’s what they get in high school.
We have to focus only on the three-part essay because that’s what’s demanded in university.
We have to take marks off because that’s what Mr. Meaniebobeanie would do in the next grade.
These justifications are more often than not excuses for bad pedagogy, and a means to place the blame for it on a mystical bogey man called ‘the next level’. It behooves anyone that is attempting to justify suspect teaching practices to at least own up to them. It’s either important to learn or it isn’t. Please don’t blame the future for bad learning in the present.