“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid”.
I bet you’ve heard this quote from Einstein before. And as an educator, I’m sure that it resonates with you. In fact, it’s never been truer. The harsh reality is that our education system is becoming narrower in its focus at the exact point in time that many children are not yet ready for formal learning.
The finger is pointed at us when children do not ‘perform’ as expected in summative tasks and assessments. Society (or perhaps just the media) believes it is our fault, some gap in our ability to teach or engage. As a result, we are given more paperwork, more accountability, more hoops to jump through. Enough is enough don’t you think?
This is the way I see it. The experiences of a child during pregnancy, birth and the early months and years of life are becoming vastly different from that of a child even as little as 10 years ago. The impact that these seemingly small changes have collectively on brain development means that many children are beginning kindergarten and school not yet wired for formal learning. They struggle to organise their belongings, sit down at mat times, regulate their emotions, interact with their peers or to learn the complex processes of reading and writing.
We are doing our absolute best to help these children learn, we always have done. The challenging part is that we can be offering a multitude of things and still fall short; our dedicated selves as co-learners, the best resources, a program which builds on their prior learning and current interests, working in true partnership with their families…the list goes on. And yet for 20% of students, progress will be slow…hard…laboured. Why? Because their brain is not yet ready for all of the good stuff we have to offer.
Look around you. The children you are teaching are different from those of previous generations. You’ve noticed, perhaps you just never knew why.
While we aren’t easily able to slow down the pace of the curricula or influence educational policy, we can create positive change by filling in the gaps. By ensuring that all of our students are able to learn. By ensuring that they are ready to reach their full limitless potential.
And to do this, you will need to embrace a new perspective and a new skill set. A different result doesn’t come from doing things the same way. Change comes from changing!
It’s not as hard as it sounds. You don’t have to do it alone. I’m here as your guide; on Facebook, on this blog, on the Thriving Children Podcast. And for the action takers among you, check out my upcoming events to see when the Thriving Children Workshop is coming to you.
Make this a year to connect at a deep level with each and every student. To feel empowered and proactive. And to rediscover your passion and joy once again.