Professor jennifer hurley

Tag: motivation

Why I Had to Give Up Grades or Give Up Teaching

Like many teachers, I have spent countless hours trying to devise a perfect grading system, one that is equal parts fair and rigorous, that will reward students for hard work and punish certain behaviors that I saw as detrimental to my students’ progress. For twenty […]

Guest Post by Elisa Castillo: True Happiness, The Essence of Life

I share this essay written by my wonderful student Elisa Castillo so that we can learn from her wisdom how to be happy in these trying times. –Jennifer Hurley We were created to be happy. The whole purpose of our life journey is to find […]

Guest Post: The Detriment of Grades

by Osvaldo Granados My student Osvaldo speaks truth to power in this extraordinary critique of grades. I am so proud to be his teacher. “…The absence of grades is a necessary, though not sufficient, condition for deep thinking and desire to engage in it” (Kohn […]

Against Outcome-Based Education

I always have thought that the essence of learning was surprise. That feeling we get when we encounter a totally new idea—that’s surprise, a kind of delighted amazement makes us crave more. So I wonder if our desire to make education more tidy is actually deadening it for our students. In our quest to measure everything, we are leaving the frosting and sprinkles off the cupcakes.

Why We Need Books More Than Ever

It is only a slight exaggeration to say that reading saved my life. I was born prematurely, with undeveloped lungs, and I was not expected to survive. In the middle of the night—this was February, in Maryland— I was taken by helicopter to a bigger […]

Is Throwing Out Grades Too Idealistic?

I teach composition, critical thinking, and literature at a community college in the San Francisco Bay Area. For over two years, my teaching has been gradeless, as much as my institution will allow. I assign no letter grades or point values to essays, quizzes, or […]

Is Teaching a Sustainable Profession?

After spending a weekend at a retreat with a group of other teachers, I came away worried about whether teaching can be a sustainable profession—whether it can be done over the course of decades, with vigor, love, and increasing excellence. So many teachers I know […]

Why I Scrapped All Lesson Plans

A few years ago, I shared some student essays with my colleagues, as part of a teacher training program I was co-facilitating. I was proud of what my students had done: They had read a series of difficult texts, formulated their thoughts on a profound […]

What Adam Rippon Teaches Us About Points

How can we measure the pure beauty of Adam Rippon’s figure skating? Is there a point value we can assign to his poise, his grace, his ability to evoke emotion on the ice? Adam Rippon did not have a high enough “technical score” in order […]

Vagueness: The Surprising Thing We Might Need More of in Education

Several semesters ago, I applied a concept called “Specifications Grading” to my composition and literature classes. If you are interested in alternatives to traditional grades, I recommend Specifications Grading by Linda Nilson. In this book, she explains ways that teachers can “specify” the requirements for a specific […]