How are your students doing with their science projects, David?, I heard the question that almost made me forget my own thoughts while I was trying to understand how to print a page in the teachers room. It was Sonja, fifth-grade teacher, she didn’t let me and she continued saying: one of my students has a brother in your classroom, he says that his brother takes photos of plants and makes observations daily, but when my student ask him his brother just responds that they are “making plants”.
Yes!, they have a project about the development of plants which they liked very much.
-I guess you thought about their level of intelligence, since I do not believe that their parents can support them much in matters of science, right?.
I found very racist and offensive her question but I decided to ask about concerned before accuse her not having respect for minorities.
-Well, you know, not all understand physics. My students will explain about physics.
Sounds great all are doing the same experiment?
-Of course!, what other way could be done?.
That’s reminded me that first encounter: there are many myths in science and are taught that there is only the physics and chemistry but also that there is a scientific work.
When the printer finally spat the desired page, I left the room saying that surely her experiment would be a success.
While I was walking to my classroom I sent a message to my mentor and asked her if she could accept a visit after class. Her answer took a while but agreed to see me.
When she received asked me just one second, as she was photographing a squirrel. When she finished, looked for a glass, and served lemonade as equal as before It had no sugar, so she asked me to add as much sugar as I wish. I didn’t have enough confidence to ask her why she didn’t add sugar to lemonade.
I told her that I didn't want to take her time but an idea had assaulted me and it was the feeling that other teachers did not believe in the abilities of my students, they were apparently labeled below the standard of intelligence and that perhaps, I was harming them by making them think that I could do things like any other student.
Her face changed her usual smile by sadness, I thought perhaps she had not understood well, but after a second, she gave me this explanation:
-Dear David, I don't know if you know that I do not understand anything about education, I do not understand why education is not able to focus on the learning of students, and even less on how it was adopted the idea that there is something like intelligence and that it is possible to classify students. Socially, there are three groups that are children: with talent or high capacity to do something, then come the children who can do things at a usual pace and finally the children with special educational needs. Each group has its characteristics and no doubt their own ways to adapt to the environment.
The problem comes when we think that intelligence determines what can or cannot do. I think that you should say: I do this at this way, and you?, or how would you do this?, I think this would can be this way, what do you think?, in my opinion that make us all less fearful of learn to think that we all do things in a single way is one of the many social paradoxes of which one day will be able discuss.
The school says: things should be made and will be made as I say, when, where and why I say, but we admire those who are different, for example, 10 years ago the Iphone was a revolutionary thing, now everybody talk about innovation and technology, but is not allowed from the school. Creativity is wiped out, but worse still, they reproduce myths that become false truths.
An example is that science is only for privileged minds or that in science there are laws, when that truth is that science changes, evolves, just like our brains, you know now today, things that you didn't know 10 years ago. If you can do something today, you may make it in 1 month or a year.
If you ask me to children and teachers are fearful of making a mistake, that's that they cannot focus on learning, This is why they don’t ask although they have doubts, "You will think that I am stupid" or that "I don't think like you". That consumes us!.
I don't drive a car but have no doubt that one day at least I will move the wheels!.
My question will get you angry, but I don't want to continue tormenting me: Can children of minority groups learn in the same way as other children?.
Her eyes shone and she looked at me in a way that knew that his answer would change my life.
-David, if you ask me from the education point of view, then the answer is NO, because they do not understand the culture of programs education, this children must go against understanding the language or the opportunity of environmental tools because their parents work 12 or 14 hours per day, they have no time to help them with their home works and even if they do, they cannot resolve difficulties related to issues that they do not understand, children will have swim against the waves!.
From neuroscience point of view, all children can learn because learning is a necessary process for conservation of the species and this principle is related to the ability to adapt to the environment. Evolutionarily, we have survived for this ability to adapt to the environment and for human beings the ability to adapt the environment, but this principle is shared even by the proteins, which you give to understand that don't need a brain to adapt. The principle is simple, you adapt, or you go. This applies at work environments and even in technology, which evolves at a rapid pace.
I think that I like to see the brain as a natural prototype able to acquire applications each which requires them, delete them which does not need, develops, invents, creates.
So what I can say is that your children have everything to learn, but the main ingredient in all learning is to believe in them.
Yesterday I heard no silly question and their knowledge is exciting. I have no further advice to give you except: give yourself the opportunity to marvel at their skills, without waiting for them to do this or that, because if you close your eyes, you will never be able to hear the music, since you'll be afraid to fall or hurt you.
Children believe in you, parents trust and look in their eyes a desire to know. For your question, I think that you need you trust yourself.
I realized that the school closed us eyes, was facing a different principle. When he was ready to go home I asked her to one day explain me her idea about education.
-With great pleasure!, I promise that we'll have this talk. But for the moment, I have something for you, I collected some magazines about science pedagogy and some others. You don't have to load them all, you can leave them here and come whenever you want, because now I know that you take this trial to go home.
I felt as if they give me a Lamborghini!, I promised visit her after class, and while I took my backpack asked her how come her dog not barking at me if it didn't know near to it.
-Simple, she does not see or hear but it can smell you, she knows who you are in the same way that you can recognize it, only uses different mechanisms. That is an example of adaptation.
I ran home and when I arrived, I was not only happy for my physical effort, by very first time I was able to close my eyes and listen to the music and I am going to find the way to share it with everyone!.