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youth ministry, youth worker, evaluation

Rethinking Evaluation

By Doug Franklin December 13, 2012

Evaluation can be scary. In fact, it can be downright horrible. Most people dread evaluation like they dread the plague. Whether it’s a test or a personal conversation, being told all the ways you are not cutting it never feels great. And students can relate to this feeling. They are bombarded with evaluation all the time, and it’s usually not the good,growth promoting evaluation that is needed in their lives.

As a culture, we’ve failed when it comes to assessment and evaluation. Philosophies behind parenting prove this. American families have gone through multiple transitions in their parenting styles. For much of the Western world, authoritarian parenting used strict forms of discipline to maintain order over children. In many cases, physical punishment was expected when wrong doing occurred with little to no explanation behind the punishment. But this style of parenting, seen by many as overly strict, would often use evaluation simply to tell students and children how wrong they were in their actions and thoughts. In response to this specific parenting style, several new approaches were birthed in homes throughout America during the 1950’s and 1960‘s, including both the absent parenting and the self-esteem movements. Either parents were out of the picture, letting students completely make their own decisions and maintaining no input; or parents sought only to encourage their children, using constant positive reinforcement to teach them right from wrong. Again, taken to the extreme, both these new styles failed to address proper evaluation for kids.

As a result of these many parenting styles and cultural rules, students of all ages do not take evaluation well. What we need, as in all things in life, is balance. Evaluation can be an effective tool in teaching students if it is done correctly, and it is so needed. All people, students included, must regularly go through a time of evaluation and assessment so growth occurs. Evaluation brings a learning experience to fruition and makes it complete.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More