Where does learning occur?

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The education reform movement seems to be so focused on academic learning that occurs in the classroom, they seem to forget that learning occurs elsewhere too. Our students are learning many different things, most of which can never be measured by a standardized test.

In fact learning occurs everywhere everyday. You know those Ah-HA moments where a person figures stuff out. That is learning. We learn from our mistakes and success, by trail and error. We learn from victories but more often from the failures. Anything that makes us reflect, pause or change our course.

Problem is this educational reform movement just wants to focus on learning that can be measured in the classroom. This can be very limited at times. Lessons take awhile to sink in, when the student is surrounded by peers who think learning isn’t so cool. The student might be learning how to deal with divorce or how to tend for a sibling. It just might be too hard right then to focus on that algebra or reading assignment. Students are so busy learning how to survive in life that their academic success may be on pause.

The movement needs to focus on the individual growth of students using a portfolio of growth instead of standardized testing. Portfolios need to include aspects of all areas of learning: Social, emotional, and physical growth need to be measured on top of intellectual.  All students do learn, it is just that they learn in many different ways and rates.

Do all children talk or walk at the same time? No. Does this make one smarter than another?

Recognizing that all children are different and should not perform the same on a yearly standardized test needs to be the first step in educational reform.

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