There are many forms of inequality. One is to assume that one type of learning style or ability is better or more beneficial than another.
There is a purpose for every person on our planet, we need to determine what that purpose is rather than requiring they become something they’re not. This process begins in our schools when we force children who learn differently to adapt to styles that are in opposition to their natural skills. We then point out when they fail and they lose confidence in themselves. Instead we should be embracing those differences, finding their purpose and teaching them to enhance their skills.
I have never told my kids that I expect straight A’s. I’ve told them I expect them to try their best. My school experience taught me that I could try equally as hard in two classes and one would result in an A, the other in a C. There are so many variables out of our children’s control that has an effect on their final grade. Illness, teachers, ability to name just a few.
When I enrolled my children in the Worthington School District while living in Ohio, I was impressed when they introduced a grading system based on the Multiple Intelligence theory. I had personally concluded that many people learned differently after watching my children struggle in school when I knew they were incredibly intelligent; they just didn’t learn best by traditional rote methods. Many of the teachers don’t grasp the concept and instead try to suggest learning challenged children require medication to learn. When my eldest was in 4th grade, he was blessed to have a teacher who was not a “rule follower,” she looked at every student as an individual and tried to cater to each’s unique learning style. She allowed my son to work in her class while standing up. He excelled that year and developed the confidence he needed to improve his grades in the years following.
Multiple intelligences allows for a society of people who have different specialties and a variety of skills. Teaching or embracing those people who learn differently will ultimately serve our community better. The challenge is finding a fiscally responsible way of accommodating the variety of learning styles. My friend Kim Kassner of EmpowerMind is trying to improve lives by teaching people how to learn best based on their own abilities. Do you know of any other programs working to embrace and amplify our innate learning differences?