Saturday, 9 August 2014

Give me quality over quantity every time!

I remind my students before they commence writing, 'Remember, I prefer quality to quantity'. Produce two pages of writing that incorporates many strategies - show don't tell, ellipses, internal thinking, onomatopoeia etc., instead of six pages of waffle. They have come to accept my expectations. Give me quality over quantity every time.

At times, students may compare themselves to each other and it's usually over quantity. Highest marks, grades, more ribbons, chosen as class captain. I encourage students not to compete against each other or even compare themselves to others. Aim for personal best in academics and sport. Where were you and where are you now? Let's embrace and acknowledge growth.

Our grading system does not highlight growth or progress. It shows a static moment in learning and we know learning is not static. A student who begins with large amount of knowledge may demonstrate little effort, resulting in insignificant improvement. Now compare that student to a student who showed limited knowledge but worked extremely hard and exhibited enormous growth. How do they end up with the same grade? Our reports should highlight progress. I find when you get swept up in a competitive situation, it creates some defensiveness and insecurity. Comparing yourself to others can be detrimental to your self-esteem and self-efficacy. While I accept some people require competition to achieve their best performance or results, I believe it is important to always run our own race. Again, let's embrace and acknowledge growth.

If you ask me about friends too, I would say I prefer a handful of friends who know and accept me as I am, than a large number of acquaintances who don't really know me at all. I'd rather people know me, than know about me. Give me quality friendships over numerous acquaintances any day.

On twitter, I am satisfied with a smaller number of followers with whom I connect and respect. Twitter, for me is not about the number of followers you ascertain. In my humble opinion, some may see followers as a badge of honor or an achievement. Personally, I see it as a pat on the back indicating that your efforts are appreciated. Usually, if you follow me, I don't automatically follow back because I want to connect first. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the pat on the back but I won't ask or seek people to follow me.

Our #SatChatOc team aims to connect and welcome all to the chat. We want to keep it personal and not be about the number of tweets per minute or our trending record. As long as educators are connecting, sharing, learning and feel like they belong, then we are happy. We do not seek guests to increase numbers but we kindly ask them to moderate because we believe Twitter enables great professional learning. If we can provide an inspirational educator to share their knowledge or generate a discussion, then we've achieved our goal. Our goal is to facilitate quality conversations. A friend once said that you should be acknowledged for the quality of your tweets, not the quantity of your tweets. This is a something I am working on.

Lately, I have learnt the benefits of really listening to others. By using Voxer, you listen to comments and while you can immediately converse with someone, this does not usually happen. The way Voxer works is you listen to comments or questions and you can respond in your own time. What I've notice is that I listen more attentively as I'm not preoccupied with my response. I give quality time to just listening. I need to develop these skills when having face to face discussions.

Students need to understand that popularity does not equal respect and that true value cannot be measured in a single, fleeting number or grade. I encourage students to be true to themselves, celebrate personal growth and remember that quality trumps quantity every time.

And the learning continues,



  1. Hi Andrea,
    Great post. I agree, quality over quantity is where its at. To be honest, I rarely participate in big twitter chats as the content flies so fast, I can't absorb it and I don't enjoy it. I prefer smaller chats, often the informal ones that just pop up online where I can really engage with people, explore ideas and learn. For me, the big, fast chats are kind of like fast food. I'd prefer a slow cooked, nutritious meal with lots of flavour.

    1. Thanks so much Corinne for our support. You and Michelle showed me the benefits of Twitter when you began #EduTweetOz. Appreciate your professionalism and passion.

  2. Hi Andrea, this is an interesting post that has prompted me to reflect on my own practice - both in class and on Twitter.
    The issue of how we reward achievement rather than (or as well as) attainment is a perennial problem when our (internal & external) systems don't allow for this and parents/students still expect to be graded this way.
    In terms of quality v quantity, you made me think about my own design classes (I teach Secondary graphics & product) where students will frequently ask "how many pages should I have for..." or "can we have a page by page checklist?" when producing design folios. My standard answer is something along the lines of "as many/few pages as it takes..." - I want to see genuine evidence of design thinking. The "design by numbers" approach practised by some "design" teachers is one of my pet-hates. I remember you mentioned somewhere before that we should display process on the the classroom walls rather than just the final outcome - absolutely!
    The Twitter part of your post made me reflect on how I have come to engage with it and how much I rely on it now. I started looking to connect, learn and share what little I had to offer. I've been amazed at the powerful learning that has followed! One thing you mention that I didn't see coming was the sense of belonging. In the demanding jobs we do, in varied contexts and circumstances, this is a very important aspect building a supportive (and challenging) PLN. Thanks for the food for thought!
    PS - I'll have a look at Voxer soon.

    1. I'm so pleased you got something out of my post Chris. I am really enjoying the blogging process. Thank you for always including me when you post 'coaching and mentoring' articles or information. I really appreciate you and feel fortunate that you are part of my PLN.

  3. I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement the concept. Thank you for the post. passion for life