I’m not sure that I have any one reason for writing a post reflecting on this theme. Rather it seems to have emerged as I have been thinking about several different issues. It seems to me that humans love to sit in judgement. We have many judgement related idioms in English:
“Judge for yourself”
“Never judge a book by its cover”
“You be the judge of that”
“it’s against my better judgement”
People like to be asked for their judgement – on our choice of wallpaper, gadget or even friends. I guess it makes us feel valued. It reflects that others feel we have good judgement, worthy of respect. The process of making a judgement involves calling upon our values, experience and knowledge of the individual. It involves communicating what may be a difficult message in a way that is understood and doing so in a way that doesn’t alienate our audience. Get it wrong and no-one will ask for your judgement again! Unfortunately, something about Brexit in the UK has empowered the expression of some really poor judgement calls, exposing divisions and poor factual understanding.
However, a good judge understands that the facts are only one aspect of the evidence to take into account. An important part of course, but all that is human is complex. Teachers are constantly put in the role of judge – they are expected to be able to criticise, analyse and advise. A good judge takes into account the context – all that contributes to the choices made and all that may happen as a result of the judgement. After all, if someone trusts our judgement we have a responsibility to them. It is important not to get carried away with the power that comes from being in a position of judgement and believe that our word is law.
This video was shared with me and David’s speech captures perfectly that complex judgement call that is great teaching. When judgement is applied in this way learning reaches way beyond the classroom, it really improves our society.