NCLB Act Ignores Basic Learning Research
The No. 1 requirement for learning to take place is safety. A student of any age must feel safe in order for effective learning to take place. They need to be physically safe as well as protected from emotional harm in all of its forms: ridicule, pressure to perform, fear of failure, and fear of not measuring up. Children who are afraid simply can't learn.
The No Child Left Behind Act sounds good. The idea is to ensure that all children are successful learners. But instead of opening up possibilities for children, it is shutting them down even further because students are scared they will make mistakes, fail a test, or look stupid in front of their classmates. The result is anger, depression, physical symptoms and acting out behaviors. Not much learning takes place.
The intention may be worthy, but it won't work until different learning styles and rates of developmental readiness are taken into account. Not all first-graders are ready to read, and not all third-graders are ready for fractions. However, some first-graders are ready for fractions, and some third-graders can read high school level.
Finding out how individual students learn and what each one is ready to learn will ensure that no child is left behind. Students who experience this type of learning situation feel safe, have a sense of accomplishment, and thrive.
Requiring all children to learn the same thing at the same time in the same way will merely ensure that more than half of the students in any classroom will not learn effectively. Students who experience this type of learning situation learn they are not very smart or capable and end up feeling angry and resentful. They grow up believing they can't do much.
If we really want to make sure no child is left behind, we need to make learning safe and enjoyable.
Victoria Kindle Hodson and Mariaemma Willis, consultants, America\\\'s Lea
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