On new teaching paradigms (and old methods)

Recently I attended a talk on the new teaching paradigms (it wasn’t exactly called that, but with so many buzz-words and acronyms out there regarding teaching and learning styles, I’ll just clump it into “teaching paradigms”)

Student scores still lag, parents and administrators are frustrated, and teachers are left speechless.

It’s no wonder that new teachers are overwhelmed, and leave the professions within 5 years (if not sooner).

But the bottom line of these meetings were to focus on alternate teaching methods on those with alternate learning styles. Some teachers also need to draw upon special education techniques, to reach those mainstreamed into their classrooms.

It’s good to know that we have a name for some of the issues that prevent students from excelling (ADD, ADHC, OCD, etc.). But I wonder if their issue will make them outstanding in some other non-academic field. We all know that Beethoven, Edison, and Hemingway (to name a few) were plagued by some of these (mixed with a pinch of depression, but that’s for another blog), but if we had pills for them, would they have been as immortal as they are today? In other words, would we have medicated the creative genius out of them?

This post is not meant to offend, but rather to encourage. Truly, only the brightest should be entrusted with being our neurosurgeons, nanophysicists, and airplane pilots. But for the others, our teachers should find a way to embrace students learning differentials, and promote for those aspects. Why should teachers torment their students (and themselves) if their students are not grasping the anatomy of the heart, or the Pythagorean Theorem? We need to dig deeper, and unlock the wonderful potential that are imbued in special students.