Children are all unique, just like adults they all have different strengths and weaknesses. Yet for years, we have expected them to learn the same content, in the same way, at the same time.
I believe in the adaptive dimension, and having the right and responsibility to adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of all learners.
I believe in teaching to the whole child through a variety of instructional strategies.
I believe in the value of equity, not equality.
So what does this say about me? About my morality? About the kind of teacher I will be? Well first of all, it should be pointed out that SK teachers have the right and the responsibility to adapt the curriculum up to 50% thanks to the adaptive dimension. With that living document, I feel empowered as a teacher to make the differentiated classroom my reality. This idea of “individualism” is at the core of my philosophy, it relates to instruction, environment, assessment, social justice, the list goes on and on. Individualism is something I value, it is something we all value….yet it is also something that can be used against us, or we can use as a basis to judge others. Is it easier for a teacher at a white middle class school to embrace individualism in the classroom than it is for a teacher at a community school? How often does race, sexual orientation, disability, religion, and/or class get in the way of “individualism” and become a vehicle for stereotypes?
When we embrace individualism, we accept the whole child for who they are. As teachers we do everything we can to help that child be successful. Whether it be modified assignments, different instructional strategies, incorporating different cultural components or taking the time to say “Hello” in the morning, we accept the challenge.These statements are a crucial part of my philosophy. Out of context these are easy things to say but through a critical lens they have become a part of the person I am trying to be.They tie my other “I believe” statements together. There is lots of research and ideas out there surrounding differentiated instruction and adapted learning,and I think that is great stuff! I value the resources being made more and more available, but the idea I am getting at here is not a “How To” book on running a classroom, it is about the people involved. The share holders in your classroom, you and your students, the relationships, and the acceptance of individualism. The acceptance of each child. Are you up to the challange?