In a perfect world every student that walked the halls of any school or college would have the ability to learn, process and understand information the same way. But we do not live in a perfect world and education is not black and white.
Academia has changed drastically throughout the years, but we still have a long way to go. Elementary classrooms are filled with students who are at very different reading and comprehension levels but are in the same grade. Higher education still requires general courses that do not necessarily connect to the students interests or major, and the class sizes in these general courses often require stadium seating. So how is a teacher supposed to teach each individual and meet their needs? How is a professor supposed to inspire an uninterested student?
Our current system runs as a one-size-fits-all program. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out this is not a good system. However, far too often it’s the teachers who are getting blamed when a student isn’t progressing at the level that has been mandated for a certain age group. Maybe we need to stop pointing fingers at our teachers and take a closer look at how we’re educating students and more importantly, why we are continuing with a process that doesn’t seem to be working anymore.
During the last 20 years or so studies have shown there has been an increase in dyslexia diagnoses as well as ADHD. That is not to say there is necessarily an increase in these conditions, only we are now learning more about them and diagnosing them correctly. In addition, there has also been studies that suggest schools are created with the extroverted student in mind, not the introverted. The good news is teachers themselves are becoming more and more aware of this and overall have made changes to their classrooms for accommodations and in some cases are even getting support to help with students who have different learning needs. The bad news, they are still required to teach from a mandated curriculum that still functions as a one-size-fits-all format. There might be some freedom in certain situations, but overall testing and exams are still done in an archaic format that does not necessarily show an accurate depiction of progress in the student.
For centuries, students who do not fit the “norm” of education have had to fumble their way through the education system all the while believing they are stupid and unteachable. For some, it’s so discouraging they make the decision to not continue their education. In reality, these are the students who we should be learning from. Different learning styles are starting to show themselves; it’s time we start paying attention.