Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The fear of exclusion

When we confuse harder with better, we run the enormous risk of allowing a scarcity of success, via desperate competitiveness, to creep into the classroom.

When we brag about how many kids couldn't cut it in our class, or how quickly we can cull the heard, or efficiently separate the wheat from the chaff, we frame learning as an act of compliance.

When we take as much pride in the number of students who fail as we do with those who succeed, we invest in a learning environment built on exclusion.

When we define our own success as educators by wearing students' failures as a badge of honour, we teach powerful lessons to not only those who are excluded but to all of us who witness the exclusion. Under these threatening circumstances, we wonder and worry what it means for us and for own safety and desperate need to be included - we eagerly comply to be included out of a fear of being excluded.

Under these conditions, real learning doesn't stand a chance.

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