Monday, September 12, 2016

A Tale of Two Classrooms -- One Size Fits Each

This is the ninth in a ten-part series based on the poster: A Tale of Two Classrooms.


One Size Fits EACH

       School is for learning.

       But students learn in different ways.  Some are quick to answer teacher questions, but slow to see connections between yesterday's lesson and today's lesson.  Other students take time to digest new content and (perhaps) need some quiet time to reflect on notes and classwork before they are ready to ask questions about the new learning.  Some students are eager to be pushed beyond their limits and they don't mind if they have to struggle a little bit to understand.  They like the challenge.  Other students feel like they are not smart if they don't "get it" right away.  They don't like to study (or don't know how to study) and they want to understand the new content right away with relatively no effort.


       When possible, we want the learning, the content, and the level of rigor to fit each student.  When this happens you never have students who are bored because they "get it" faster than everyone else; and you never have students who are frustrated because the class moves too fast for them.  Everyone is learning at their speed and at their level.

       This sounds impossible.  In practice, however, teachers accomplish this feat by teaching one lesson to the whole class, and then separating the class into three or four groups that receive slightly different classwork assignments that meet the students' level of ability.  This can also be accomplished by employing online tools that can provide additional instruction or support to students as they complete an assignment.  Or they can provide a high level of rigor to students who seek a challenge.
       This certainly requires an experienced and well trained teacher.  And it takes some effort and trial and error to find the best way to reach all students all of the time.  But it can be done and it certainly has great benefits for students.


Public Schools and Choice

       Is it true that public school kids and their public school parents don't have choices?  I'm sure that I will expose my igno...

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