I have to touch the third rail: is education today more assimilation into a one-size-fits-all or is it about reaching a baseline of standards for learning?
I ask this because lately it seems that there is an underlying expectation that we plan or are given one lesson and asked to apply it to every student in a grade level or a district or state. Sometimes even the teacher’s dialogue with the students is scripted.
But my teacher self – the skeptic that I sometimes am – says this makes no sense. How can a lesson applicable to one set of students work flawlessly with another? The students who make up my classroom change from year-to-year. so shouldn’t the instructional delivery also change? The ability to assess where students enter a lesson and how I deliver the instructional supports those students need – shouldn’t that be as student-driven and tailored as possible? Wouldn’t the teacher in front of those students be the best at reading the room and knowing what to do — isn’t that what you pay me to do?
Levels or distrust, disrespect, demonization. Those trends in our popular culture seem to drive the rush to a scripted, and lock-step curriculum. Silly me, I thought a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction and a 25-year career might provide me with the tools to at least figure out how to move students from point A to point B.
Students deserve more than a scripted curriculum, one that is often developed by profiteers lurking on the edges of education ready to swoop in and make a profit by manufacturing a crisis in education that often is not real.
Resistance may be futile – for now. But as long as I’m allowed to teach, I will covertly or overtly continue to resist those one-size, scripted curricula.