One Size Fits All?

Imagine walking into a shoe store where all shoes were the same. Size, shape, color, and function were the same for all choices. Every customer walks out with the exact same shoe as the customers yesterday as well as shoes that will leave the store again tomorrow. Of course shoe stores do not work this way. People have different shaped feet and need shoes that function for different tasks. Apply this to education. Do schools do a good enough job of “sizing up” each student and finding the right programs for them? Unfortunately, most of the time we are guilty of a “one size fits all” approach to how and what we teach our students. We must learn to start with our students and not the subjects or classes. An effective school must build relationships with its students, their parents, and the entire community. We must design our approach based on each individual student and the unique needs of the school. We need to concentrate on the nurturing of the unique strengths and energies of each student. Everyone has a passion. In order to make learning relevant, we must tap into those passions. A curriculum needs to based on the needs of the students and the community as a whole. The one size fits all aproach makes education an assembly line that tries to force parts for unique machines into a standarized product. It is a system that just does not seem to work as well as it should.  I fear that as we move forward with more testing and measuring in the name of improving achievement, we will lose sight of these important concepts and ideas.  What is your opinion?

3 thoughts on “One Size Fits All?

  1. This post is part of the reason I am proud that you are with Connected Principals. You hit the nail on the head! Awesome

  2. I went to the community meeting about a school lastnight and i was the only highs school student there, in our group there was a question along the lines of "what is the most important theme that the new school should have". My suggestion, that kind of has to do with this is that we should have specific curriculums for what kids want to be. Like a University has colleges of nursing, engineering or language, we should have "tracks" for the students to be set on to go into their desired field of study after highschool. For example I would like to be a civil engineer, so my electives that I am in and have taken include dradfting, physics, and college algebra/trig/precalc. I have picked my schedule out to what best suits my needs as a college prep engineer student. The students that do not care about school are turned off by reading about Walt Whitman and William Shakespeare blow it off, but if that student is intersted in cars then his english class should read about cars, how they work and stuff like that. There should be a variety of these tracks in which students can choose, they all will have to take manditory classed but those classes would be more centered around their career choice, like my english class might be about how bridges and streets are made or something. Some people might say that kids might not like what track they are on and then they are stuck on it. In that case then students should be able to change their "major" at semsters, or if the kids dont know then they can go undecided and take general ed classes. Also another benefit, lets say right now I am sold on the idea of becoming a civil engineer, but then half way through my first semester as a college sophmore that I do not like it. Well if I had been on a pre-engineering track while I was in highschool, took more engineering prep like classes then I would have learned mroe quickly that I do not like engineering. Putting kids on these tracks will let them findout sooner what they like, what they dont like and what they want or dont want to be when they leave highschool. I think that this kind of thing would keep more kids intersted in school, I hate english and it is my worst class, i could care less about Whitman but if I were reading books about architecture or building then I would pat more attention and do better in that class. But to get this kind of program going I beleive we would need a more populus student body, either making the new school county wide, or maybe a new school would attract more people to paris and therfore adding population to the school.

  3. Thad,

    Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment! You have made some very valid points about the relevancy of high school studies! We have been discussing these exact same ideas amongst the faculty. Keep coming to the meetings and encourage your peers to come as well!

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