Closing Learning Gaps

“In reality, the struggle becomes real since our education system tries to meld our kids into certain shapes, akin to squeezing a square into a circular hole…”

All the perfectly shaped buzzwords in the world are not going to make “square pegs fit round holes.” What’s so arduous about filling those gaps in other ways instead?

Now more than ever, we tend to push kids through the grades, educational goals and standards, whether they’re ready or not. 

We have to be completely honest, the system is failing  through the academic and testing frenzy that has gripped it,  not only, because of the square peg yes, but also due to the “push through”.  

Most certainly, there are time constraints to cover content. The individual attention received from specialized approaches does help. More generally, however, there’s no mention of how best to address the gaps occurring in the first place. So those gaps become even wider holes, needing to be filled. 

For any parent, when these situations become evident it is obviously enough to make them simply heartsick, with a sense of failure. At Tutor Partners, we don’t wish to see the system failing the child and leaving any child feeling like they’re failing at the age of 6. 

Realistically, there are a myriad facets to being equipped to learn, the foundations are always fundamentally critical and yet we still have this tendency in society to push what’s “normal” in terms of expectations, the boxes get checked and in many ways, hope for the best. 

This trend toward “standardization, high stakes testing”, during the developmental stages for learners has been accelerated. 

Set standards and expectations miss the mark in terms of what is needed. And as we always say, the social and emotional development of kids is just as critical. We need to balance it.

We’ve said before that if  you’re not emotionally equipped it is difficult to reach certain points, and all these aspects go hand in hand. Sadly, whether they’re five or fifteen years old, kids are under pressure to meet standards. Or even worse yet, things are let slide simply because there is a quota on the bell curve needing to be accounted for, regardless of emotional or social needs.

“Differentiation and Individualization” have been the buzzwords of the last two decades especially, as the way to tackle the vast array of abilities and learning styles in a classroom. 

Theory In Practice? 

Theoretically, educators are meant to produce individualized learning experiences for an entire classroom, whereby everyone is expected to end up “meeting standards” (learning the same amount of measurable information) by the end of the year, regardless of their situation. 

Unfortunately, many children experience circumstances where the curriculum is locked into a certain timeframe. And sadly, even with specialization, many of our wonderful “square pegs” are most certainly left behind. Anyone who believes even the most dedicated and gifted teacher can achieve miracles has never set foot in a classroom. It might seem cliché, however, it takes a team effort.

We need to remember:

We teach our kids three and three is six, and that Washington DC is the capital of our country.

However, we fail to delve deep. We need kids to know who they are, to effectively fill those holes within them. We also need them to recognize, they are not simply letters and numbers on pieces of paper. 

These things will not define them, however effort still  needs to be applied. 

It takes commitment to achieve things. Stand strong. Don’t give up, never, ever – even throughout those tests both in the classroom and in life.

We should be saying to every single one of them: There will never be another person like you. Your body and mind  are  yours. You need to use both  wisely. You can achieve anything. 

The Way Of The Future

There must be a technique to value and honor both the strengths and weaknesses in every child. For one is just as valuable and as powerful as the other.

Perhaps the answer is this? What if we learned to value our square pegs for where they are at, and work alongside their souls, personalities, and learning styles rather than pound them into standardized round holes with a sledgehammer of what is?

“My mother distinguished achievement and success. 

She said that ‘achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is in you. 

Success is being praised by others, and that’s nice, too, but not as important or satisfying. 

Always aim for achievement and forget about success.”

~ Helen Hayes

At Tutor Partners  our approach aims to combat these challenges to help fill those holes and just be, live freely.

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