Thursday, May 19, 2011

Celebrate Uniqueness

uniquenessIn ReThinking: "He Doesn't Want to be Seen as Different" from EdTech Solutions - Teaching Every Student, Karen Janowski says,

“Unfortunately, I realize another team is unaware of Universal Design for Learning principles.  If they understood UDL, they would appreciate the importance of offering MULTIPLE methods of engagement, presentation and expression. Instead, they are sticking to the "one size fits all" approach, an approach which fails to meet the needs of all learners. It's an approach that allows teams to agree, "He doesn't want to be seen as different." 

My challenge to the team is to change the culture, don't let the student be seen as different. Offer multiple methods of expression. Give choices. Offer alternatives to the traditional methods which fail many kids.”

Maybe we need to think about what message we are telling kids. By trying to make everyone fit one size, we are telling them that it is wrong to be different. I’m not sure that they start off believing that they don’t want to be different. As children grow and observe, they learn that adults expect them to fit in, to conform to the rules, to be the same. We teach them that they don’t want to be seen as different.

We need to start spreading the message that it is okay to be different because we all are different.

Isn’t that why we all have our own unique fingerprints?

Don’t we all like different foods? Different clothes? Have different personalities?

We are not made to be carbon copies of each other!

I believe when we stop trying to force this message on children, everyone will be much happier and our children will be more successful, not just in school but in life.

Maybe if we start changing the way we see children, there will be more tolerance in the world for those that are different. Maybe it won’t be such an issue to be different. Suddenly by being different, we all fit in the same group – the Different group. Suddenly we all belong.

By allowing students to learn in different ways we are acknowledging their uniqueness and teaching them that it is okay. We are showing others that it is okay too. Suddenly being different is okay. Eventually this message will spread but it has to start somewhere. Will you start sending that message today?

It is time.

Celebrate uniqueness.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original image: 'rain rain go away' by: Nina Matthews

1 comment:

Bill C. said...

A great way to celebrate different cultures is by teaching abroad!