When students go through trial and error, the traditional system does not leave much room for error. For example, if you have a history teacher that asks you to show your growth through a multiple choice test and you turn in an essay, you will likely fail. But what if that is your way of learning? What if that is your way of figuring things out? What if that is your best way to effectively communicate your knowledge?
Have you ever noticed the negative language we use for students who don’t fit the traditional student mold?
Traditional schooling will only begrudgingly allow different strategies for learners. If it is outside the “One Best Way” they will use condescending language to label. Examples of labels in educational systems are terms like “accommodations,” “special needs,” “disability,” “remedial” or “individualized education plan.” These are labels that schools will run meetings upon meetings trying to work with students on them. Many of these meetings can sometimes have the goal to get a student back to the “one right way” mentality. The student who is negatively labeled sometimes believe they are not as talented as someone who does not need to make a large demand in their education.
This works in the opposite direction when a student is successful at the traditional learning methods. We see students placed in “Honors” and “Advanced Placement” classes. The traditional systems “honor” conformity and scoff at individuality. When schools describe “smart” kids, we say they have a high GPA or have a great score on the SAT. We label students “Gifted.” The only gift I see is that they learn in a certain way. “Gifted” or “AP” students are great traditional students. That’s all. The students who struggle in the system are also gifted. These students are also advanced in an area outside of the “norm.” The traditional system just doesn’t “honor” their different types of learning. We need to look for every student’s advanced skills and build on them rather than simply focusing on the traditional academic system’s term of advances.
Let’s be more aware of the labeling used in education. Another way to Disrupt Education.