Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On being individual...

I am not sure of the relatedness of this post to education, but find it fascinating on individuality not only in our own lives but of what we do not understand about snowflakes. Really, we were taught that no two snowflakes are alike but it turns out that it is actually false. Its move through the atmosphere shapes it into what it becomes.

If people and experiences shape kids over time, what happens if the current school reformers remove every aspect that can shape students into individuals? I am convinced that focusing on testing will drive the experiences that light up students away from them as well as some of the best teachers that help guide and shape. What environments should they have as they tumble their way through life? And now, school is so far not the place where students can shape their lives. I firmly stand behind the idea that school is the worst place for students to be. They need adults and experiences to shape their lives but school is no longer that place where it comes together.

Read this portion taken in its entirety from the above blog post:

In 1988, a cloud scientist named Nancy Knight (at the National Center for Atmospheric Research—let’s not defund it) took a plane up into the clouds over Wisconsin and found two simple but identical snow crystals, hexagonal prisms, each as like the other as one twin to another, as Cole Sprouse is like Dylan Sprouse. Snowflakes, it seems, are not only alike; they usually start out more or less the same.

Yet if this notion threatens to be depressing—with the suggestion that only the happy eye of nineteenth-century optimism saw special individuality here—one last burst of searching and learning puts a brighter seasonal spin on things. “As a snowflake falls, it tumbles through many different environments,” an Australian science writer named Karl Kruszelnicki explains. “So the snowflake that you see on the ground is deeply affected by the different temperatures, humidities, velocities, turbulences, etc, that it has experienced on the way.” Snowflakes start off all alike; their different shapes are owed to their different lives.

1 comment:

  1. In large classrooms with 30-35 kids, it is impossible to treat each child as a "snowflake". I think online learning will be a key in helping to truly differentiate instruction.