My Answer to Education Reform: Focus

During tonight’s ( 10-4) #edchat a number of us myself included tweeted that what we really need is not a lot of talk about reform but just focus on meeting the needs of our students.

Then I saw a blog post titled “Why I don’t like Differentiated Instruction”

While I agree with the author that the focus cannot be on the teacher or on the instruction, but rather we need to focus on the learning.

However if we are truly focusing on meeting our students needs and if we are truly facilitators in the learning process then by definition we must differentiate. No two children learn the same way, and different children have different needs.

We can talk about differentiation, and technology, and grades, and standardized testing and any other hot topic in education but if truly want to help our students and maximize their learning ( after all isn’t that what it is all about) then we need to FOCUS on one thing;  HOW CAN WE MEET OUR STUDENTS NEEDS or in other words WE NEED TO PUT KIDS FIRST.

If that becomes our focus everything else is really secondary

My thoughts



3 thoughts on “My Answer to Education Reform: Focus

  1. That phrase “maximize learning” has always bothered me because it is ingenuous. It really should read “maximize the learning of the specific things we want the student to learn about and know.” It is more about pre-determination than self-determination, directed development instead of self-development. If you want to maximize learning, self determination and self development, get the kids out of the classroom and teach them how to deal with the world.

    This does not mean that basic skills are necessary, just that they should be acquired by the student the same ways he or she learned to speak, go to the bathroom, dress and all those highly complex skills students accomplish before the get to school.

    Yes, this is a radical statement, but it was suggested to me by a librarian who says she takes all the books off the shelves and then tries to justify putting them back instead of looking at what is on the shelf and deciding what to get rid of. We’re trying to fix education by tinkering and yelling at each other when what we need to do is take everything off the shelf and justify putting it back.

  2. Devin,
    Thank you for your comments and pushing me to think and rethink.

    I love your last line. I would only say or suggest that when we have to justify “putting it back on the shelf” what will be the litmus test of what is justified and what gets put back.
    I would argue that the determining factor must be are we we putting the needs of our students first and how will this help our students.
    If that is our focus then I believe we could do away with the yelling because who wanted want to help his /her students

    Again thanks for the comment

  3. “Help our students,” has become the magic chant that is supposed to stop all questions and challenges.

    Help our students? Help our students do what? Help our students think what? Help our students believe what? Help our students accept what?

    The meaning of the phrase “help our students” depends on the agenda of the person saying it.

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