Treating (Teaching) Children “Equally” is Unfair

You hear these statements all the time…

We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal…
Everyone is equal before the law.
Teachers should treat all students equally.

One platitude after another…

Who can disagree with these assertions?

After all, isn’t treating everyone equally the same as fairness?

Teaching is Different than Running a Lunch Counter

This article is about providing love, service, protection and caring instruction to every child.

In fact, children of illegal immigrants, the children of the same religion of the terrorist airplane hijacker, the children who come to school wearing the same dirty tee-shirt for weeks at a time…deserve to be treated fairly.

But, for all the compassion, empathy and caring that teachers hold; for all the dedication that teachers donate to students and our society by perfecting their instructional skills; treating children equally is unfair.

In fact, treating children equally turns out to be stingy, uncaring and unkind.

Here we expose some of the effects of the “Treat/ Teach all children equally” prescription…

Playground fun

Playground fun aims to bring together traditional and modern playground and street games for children aged 7–9 and aims to encourage children to take part in physical activity through education.
Teaching materials contain worksheets, teaching ideas and curriculum references to help you integrate the Playground fun website and the games on it into your teaching. The Playground fun project consists of six “lessons” that promote the effective use of ICT, digital cameras and the Internet. There are also links back to the website. These lessons are aimed at Years 3 and 4 but can be adapted to suit your class.

Visit Playground Fun

Learned Helplessness: A Habit we Don’t Want for Ourselves (or Our Students)

Situations exist. How we interpret situations determines our reaction to these situations. Our interpretation also determines our mood, and long-term, determines our beliefs.

Learned helplessness refers to what happens when, after countless attempts, people come to believe that their work, strategies, techniques and efforts “get them nowhere, provide no positive payoff.”
If a teacher comes to believe that a situation is hopeless, and the results of their work and effort are uncontrollable, a number of outcomes (all negative) are possible.

Reading Recovery in the Classroom

“I consider myself to be a Reading Recovery teacher. I was trained in 1999 and worked for four years as a Reading Recovery/literacy support coordinator. During that time I worked with teachers and gave tips on how they could use Reading Recovery techniques in the classroom. I was very proud of the fact I could teach them how to use running records and sound boxes. I devised a whole list of activities that could be done in the classroom. All of this had merit, but I think I missed the bigger picture of what Reading Recovery is about. It is about looking at the children and thinking of what I can do to help them understand the reading process. It is about being explicit, not wasting time and getting the most out of them as learners. The other things are the tools we use in order to achieve our aims.
This year I have returned to the classroom. I was a bit worried as it had been a long time, and I was given a prep grade. It is funny with classroom teaching, when you are doing all the things necessary to run a class you just do it, but on reflection you think about the lunchboxes, the meetings, the parents, the ‘I want to go home’, ‘he won’t play with me’, ‘she took my lunch’ and you wonder: how did I do it all? Anyway, being a positive person, I decided if other people could manage, I could manage too.
My year started this year as most prep grades do. The children would come in to school, there would be activities on the tables and the children would move around the room as they pleased. As a Reading Recovery teacher I was very mindful about introducing them to their books, so I took the opportunity while they were playing to select a book for them that would match their needs. I was amazed at the rapid improvement in their reading levels. I was treating each child as a Reading Recovery student, introducing them to a new book and prompting them according to their needs.
I began to wonder, was it the time the children were allowed to develop or was it the explicit teaching or was it both?
So I thought I would analyse what else has changed. …”

Read on …

Vic schools a ‘war toy free zone’

Toy soldiers, model war planes and wrestling figurines have been banned in Victorian schools.
The ban is part of a move towards political correctness.
Primary schools and kindergartens are now “war toy free zones”.

Read on …

Here is a list of the web pages for teachers that I have just

History and Timelines
Values books
Ancient Egypt
Internet Research
Special days
Kindergarten Longer Read-alouds
Year Six Novels
Books for autistic children
Asia – General

“Replacing books with computers shows promise”

The Anchorage Daily News reports that at Wendler Middle School, Sixty seventh-graders have received free-to-use laptops. While the students can’t take the laptops home, they can take them into classes, use them for taking notes, and access wireless internet to assist with assignments. The theory underpinning the initiative is that if children have constant access to technology, they will read more often, learn better, and have fun while doing it.

Read more …

Six ed-tech trends to watch in 2007

Service-oriented architecture, ‘cloud computing’ among the developments sure to have an impact on educational technology in the coming year

Read the whole article