Research and experience support the view that every child can learn. However, it is recognized that conventional classrooms are ill-equipped to meet the individual rhythm and needs of its students. Classrooms today require focusing on data-driven content and benchmarks over critical thinking skills, creativity, and a love of learning. Twenty-first century workplaces value characteristics the conventional classroom does not have the ability to nurture without sacrificing the student as a whole person.
While schools strive for standards requiring more rigor and proficiency of skills, it is at the cost of self discovery and strength building. The countless hours of homework assigned, with the hopes of encoding the skills necessary to satisfy the proficiency standards set, require families to become increasingly involved in completing such work. However, conventional classrooms do not empower families to provide the appropriate assistance and then this elongates the work time. In turn, this is causing children and parents alike, to become increasingly disenfranchised in the educational process. Additionally, it is shameful that this "necessary practice work" does little to increase overall achievement according to current research. This creates family tension and weakens family relationships as resentment and frustration creates a cycle of disappointment and withdrawal seen by even exceptionally bright students. Often these bright students can not consistently meet the standards; even with parent intervention, as they struggle not with the content but managing the workload from home. It becomes clear to the educated, compassionate parent that they are not the best resource for helping their child with homework- but only a few recognize the system itself is falling short of expectations, not the student.
Alongside the deficiencies of the traditional school system is the ever growing problem of weak executive skills. Weak executive functioning is a hallmark of the bright child- whose brain has developed in a way where its wiring makes reaching the student's potential in a conventional classroom challenging. Further, that environment works off the belief that this training requires additional work- which in fact only serves to deprive students in understanding the depth and richness of life and its experiences. There is a growing trend of students who have little experience with self-discovery, understanding of learning styles and preferences, as well as self-advocacy. Instead many classrooms have created environments where the minimum proficiency levels are the goal and achieving those takes precedence over any need to balance the neuro-diversity present in the classroom.
This then leaves the smart but scattered student at a disadvantage because this student's academic potential may rival the executive functioning and soft skills to achieve it. In fact, most bright children when they were young, long ago before the homework drama or requests to forgo school, was a child who begged to learn more- and when presented with new ideas and concepts learned it effortlessly. Conventional classrooms have failed this child- this gift- and now we either send them home with nothing additional to challenge their mind or work which only shuts it down.
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