Educational Philosophy Valuing Students as Individuals

In education, students are about as varied as the beautiful flowers in a greenhouse.  A very wise and experienced teacher should be able to recognize each and every student as an individual in their classroom or any educational setting that they may be fortunate to be in.  Students are just about as individualized whether the class is primary or intermediate in nature.  The professional can have a primary classroom where the students are at such differing levels of ability and strengths and talents, sometimes more often than a higher grade level where the individualism can be screamingly apparent. 

In former times of education, say about twenty years ago, teachers were taught how to teach via the entire classroom structure – mainly a whole group approach or a curriculum that boasted it would somehow be able to reach all levels via a usage of their materials and limited resources to meet the needs of the masses, so to speak.

However, in education today, the focus has become more individualized as the needs of children have dramatically changed.  This is apparent when you now can see much more diversity in the classroom, as world travel and changing cultures are brought to the American school system.  Students now have the ability to share their customs and cultures throughout our school in a vibrant and interesting way. 

Also, the family background and socioeconomic status of families play a major role in the education of young lives.  A family who might be economically stable is usually more vested in the education of their student(s), but not always.  It is true that parents who just spend time with their children doing homework, asking questions, and doing activities that relate to and enrich their school experience plays a huge role in their students’ success in school.

Therefore, it is up to the teacher or facilitator to be able to recognize such differences and individualism in their students, as well as other major factors or influences which define who that child is and with what they bring to a classroom to convey and share with others. 

Do not forget the students who also have an array of talents and gifts, which may include the arts.  There are children who may not excel academically, but will demonstrate great talent in the field of music, art, mechanical ability, and perhaps a dual language or ancestral gift that has been passed down for generations in the family.  These are all hints and indicators that these children need to be recognized for their gifts as individuals and not be given the “cookie cutter” approach in education and curriculum especially. 

There are so many more resources open to educators today in the field of special education or gifted and talented opportunities within the school day.  Then there are the numerous “after school” or extended programs found in most every public school and some private schools, where students also have the chance to show off their individual talents.  There may be a star sports player, or a great dancer, or perhaps one who is very good with crafts or singing or playing an instrument.

There are so many way that a child can be recognized as an individual.  It is the responsibility of a great teacher to recognize the potential in each of his or her students and be able to capitalize on each one via the numerous resources available to them to help each child be accepted and confident in their class or school setting.