What is learning? And how does it happen? And is it the same for each of us?
There are voices today speaking out in defense of differentiated learning – of recognizing and respecting that we all learn as we do, and it’s not better or worse, right or wrong- it just is.
That’s right. Our culture has gone gaga (no, not Lady Gaga, that’s something else….) over trying to “fix” children so that they will turn out alright. Fix them so that their problems will go away, or be masked. What we’re doing is trying to fit them all into a mold of what a “learner” looks like – suggesting that that’s a singular picture. It’s not.
Let’s champion who we are. Let’s accept that we each learn as we do and a school’s job is to help us to discover that and excel in a way that we can. Traditional schools can’t do this. They are “one size fits all” institutions. They stopped being places of learning a while ago. They are today “grade factories” – a place you go to get grades.
That’s why this space persists: to change the education conversation.
We need more voices calling this out. Children everyday are being subjected to “assessments” and testing to figure out what’s wrong with them, what their special “learning problem/disability” is and how we can fix it. These children are being made to feel like there’s something wrong with them, that they are substandard. That’s not a good mindset to have if you want to learn. Learning requires a decent sense of self.
Don’t get me wrong – some children have actual, severe learning challenges that absolutely need support. But they are a minority of who is being screened into special programs, medications, and the like because they have shown a “blip” on the assessment test that was just a little too high.
Onward then, we’ve work to do. Oh – and read Healy’s new book while you’re at it – there’s much more in there for everybody than what the title suggests.