I am sure by now most educators reading this blog will have seen this cartoon:
I don’t actually know the origin of this frame, but it has been passed around a lot. The message is clear: one-size-fits-all testing is flawed, differentiation is important. While presumably intended as a critique of standardized testing, it has been spread wider, with resulting insinuations about classroom instruction as well. Today this cartoon was tagged onto the end of an email sent out to the staff, as I’m sure it has many times in many schools around the world. A colleague of mine – a veteran teacher teacher who has a knack for waving aside smoke and mirrors – sent a simple reply:
Perhaps they should not have all been registered in the course on tree climbing to begin with.
That one statement opens up a slew of issues, all of which require their own conversation around fairness, equality, homogenization vs streaming vs differentiation, the difference between primary and secondary education, who bears responsibility for ensuring students are in an appropriate program, and even the use of rhetorical devices in complex discussions of education as a whole.
I will not be elaborating further on this topic here, I have too much work to do. But feel free to talk amongst yourselves.