Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dr. Freed Comments on Edutopia Question

What is so patronizing about this week's Edutopia question [“Does teaching low-performing and high-performing students together benefit the whole class?”] is that it contains a caste-ing notion of "low-performing" and "high-performing" students as if they were genetically determined.

Learners are simply "learners" with the success of their performance often having more to do with the quality and imagination inherent in teacher assigned tasks and their readiness for them and interest in them than with individuals' supposed aptitude.

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs would have surely washed out of their doctoral programs, for example, while most Ph.D.'s don't even realize that anything exists outside of tiny measurable boxes.

I teach adult-learners who wish to complete their undergraduate and / or graduate educations. Nearly all of them were labeled at one time or another "low-performing" students. And I'm sure that tattoo across their foreheads was an impediment to their return to higher education. Their current learning profiles, however, equate to the honor students I have previously taught at traditional universities.

As Shakespeare wrote, both the "readiness" and the "ripeness" are more necessary for actualization than the "groupness." Ok, ok, he never used the word “groupness,” but you get my drift.

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