Every year on the first day of school, I always make it a point to explain to my students that "fair does not always mean equal". Equal opportunity requires student-centered teaching, classroom modifications, and/or behavior plans. This is what we now refer to as "Differentiated Instruction". It is a new catch phrase, but something good teachers have already done for years. If you are connected in any way to a child with special needs, you know this comes in the form of an IEP - a legal document to make sure you provide this individualized instruction to a student.
Unfortunately, I have had to discuss this topic with more adults than children (you know, those teachers who insist on having Stepford children as students).
|One of my favorite educational cartoons ("No Animal Left Behind")|
Almost every time, someone will comment, "That's not fair!" This is the perfect teachable moment. The volunteer could not help that he was shorter. In order to make the situation "FAIR" - each person having the same opportunity to achieve the same goal, one person needed a little modification. The conversation is endless...