Have you ever wrestled with this?
You have two students in your class. Student A puts on earbuds and has some music and can have some extreme focus on the learning at hand. Student B wears earbuds and can’t concentrate at all. So, if Student A benefits from listening to music in certain circumstances, then we let them continue. If Student B doesn’t benefit, we have to move in another direction.
The question that we are often faced with in this situation, especially when the question from our students is; “is this fair?”
One perspective may be that every student has the exact same experience in school. Every student should have the same opportunities and the chance to be successful. This doesn’t mean everything looks the same. What works for one might not work for another. This is not just with “earbuds” but is present in many aspects of school.
Is it possible to have personalized learning with standardized solutions? Is this achievable in every situation? No. Is this hard work? Absolutely; however, if we want to continue providing opportunities for all students to become successful, the work must be a team effort. How do we team effectively in the context of our school?
Do we continue to cultivate a culture of healthy provocation through rich questions about our practice? Some example questions may include; What is our collective ‘Why’? What insight do we have into the current reality of our leaners? What are the emerging profile characteristics of learners in our school? What is our preferred future for learning in our school? What is our shared responsibility and accountability for ‘our students’?
Sharing practice or deprivatizing practice intentionally maintains a focus on learners and learning for the benefit of ‘our students’, because we all own all the faces. Michael Fullan, Andy Hargreaves and Lyn Sharratt share extensive research through practically grounded illustrations of practice. Check out their recent publications to explore ways to grow a deeply collaborative culture in your learning community.
Why is this work important? Our students.
Title CLARITY: What Matters MOST in Learning, Teaching, and Leading
Author Lyn Sharratt
Publisher Corwin Press, 2019
Title Coherence: The Right Drivers in Action for Schools, Districts, and Systems
Authors Michael Fullan, Joanne Quinn
Publisher Corwin Press, 2016
Title Collaborative Professionalism: When Teaching Together Means Learning for All
Corwin Impact Leadership Series
Authors Andy Hargreaves, Michael T. O’Connor
Publisher Corwin Press, 2018