Isn't It Just Common Sense?
It makes sense that social and emotional factors affect cognitive learning throughout early childhood and adolescence. We know that not every child learns how to walk at the same time, reads at the same level, or behaves in the same way. We talk about standards and assessments with regards to testing and where children should be at the end of each school period, so doesn't it make sense that developmental milestones (and whether every child has met them) are taken into consideration?
We talk about multiple intelligences, differentiated instruction, and personalized learning—in short, meeting the needs of each student. Is too much reliance on standards and assessments interfering with providing a personalized learning experience that respects the developmental stage of each child? And are we providing teachers with the time, resources, knowledge, and assistance they need to juggle the responsibilities they have to meet each child’s learning needs? Is it fair to the teacher and student?
At last month's press conference to release the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education’s policy recommendations on how the developmental sciences can prepare educators to improve student achievement, Iowa high school English teacher and 2010 National Teacher of the Year Sarah Brown Wessling shared stories from her classroom and talked about the importance of empowering teachers.
It might be easy to think: Why don't teachers just do this? ... So much of this seems kind of intuitive; so much of it seems kind of like common sense. But here's the thing about living in a school: We have 'teaching and learning' and we have 'school.' And there are some times when these things intersect, but there are a lot times when they don't. So there's a lot of times [when teachers' lives] are full of school clutter; right? They're full of bells and paperwork and little, tiny activities and necessities that take all the minutes of the day. And when we do not free our teachers from those kinds of moments, we don't allow them to be intuitive. We don't ... empower them to use that kind of common sense that we can all kind of from afar stand back and think, why not?
What do you think?