> Pam wrote... > > "What the heck does reward have to do with it?" > > I thought we were talking about humans. I realize > that you are trying to redefine the species in the > image of struggling students with various > disabilities, but I am not buying it. While you might > wish that the world were so dull and you may have > some ability to present it as such to those students > in your charge, there are students elsewhere, usually > with affluent parents, that are being presented a > much more positive experience regarding their > brightness and that opens up some major doors in > their life. When I use the term "diversity" I use it > in a straightforward and honest way. I mean a > diversity in ability and interests and goals that are > congruent with all that. When you use the term it's > as if you are attempting some sort of Jedi mind trick > to divert us from the point. I once said that you > could spot mathematical talent at an early age, and > that does not mean that all the other kids are now > automatically un-talented. > > But yeah, I am stressing that when talent shows up it > should be met with positive reenforcement. Not the > chip on your shoulder.
Robert, I fully support meeting the needs of all students, providing appropriate challenges, pushing them ahead when that is what they need, tracking (with caveats), and so forth. I'm still not sure what "reward" has to do with this discussion. All kids need positive reinforcement. And, personally, I always found learning and achieving to be rewarding in and of themselves. I never needed a pat on the back when I knew I was doing well, but, yes, some kids need more encouragement. Ultimately, though, if learning isn't its own reward, if students are dependent upon external reinforcement, they will not get as far.
The reason I write of disabilities is because there is so much ignorance about disabilities, especially hidden disabilities such as LDs. And being the mother, wife, and teacher of people with LDs, it is a topic that consumes me, with no apologies.
Robert, you want numbers and statistics to inform your world, but one needs a depth of knowledge and experience about the specific topic the statistics represent in order to interpret those numbers with any sort accuracy. Statistics can lie, and they can be interpreted wrongly or incompletely, and they represent whole groups and averages rather than individuals.
Schools teach many things. Unfortunately, academics isn't really one of them. Thus, we have to be especially careful when we interpret achievement numbers.