In the book, The Twelve Year Sentence: Radical Views of Compulsory Schooling, edited by William F. Rickenbacker (1974), H. George Resch, in his chapter ‘Human Variations and Individuality’ points out that human equality is a myth. There is nothing equal about any of us, other than our equal responsibility to live righteously before the law.
From the minutiae of our DNA, to the macro details of our body shape, emotional responses, mental capacities, preferences, gifts and motivations; the total combination of who we actually are is completely unique from everyone else who has existed, and ever will exist.
Our uniqueness makes mass education an impossibility. It is just not possible to cater for all the educational, emotional and relational needs of all the children in a classroom. The expectation placed on teachers to do so is an unreasonable expectation, and in many cases causes stress for the teacher who is failing to rise to the expectation, and the students who are not having their needs met.
One of my respondents stated that, “… some children need the read / write version of instruction. However, it is a challenge to children who are not wired that way. Different families can cater in different ways for the differences in their children. They can provide a certain kind of education for those children academically-oriented, and give a life-oriented education for those children who are that way inclined. Parents can cater for the different needs of each of the children.”
Parents who are giving their children educational opportunities in the midst of everyday family life, can guide each of their children into tasks and projects and research assignments that cater for the particular learning style, interest and capacities of that particular child. In a classroom you are not living life, you are creating an artificial hothouse, and every situation has to be planned and prepared for. However, not everyone will be catered for, so boredom, frustration and anti-learning elements will be introduced into the classroom, which will draw the teacher’s energies and attention away from the students who are interested and do want to learn.
Long live the differences in humanity. However, the socializing agenda (i.e. indoctrination into socialism) of schools militates against such differences. Only home-based unschooling can properly recognize, feed and cause to flourish the uniqueness of each person in the family.
One thought on “… vive la difference …”
From being different to making a difference.
My experience has been that schools spend inordinate amounts of time and resources on mainly academic exercises that have little to do with serving and giving to build up and address the needs around them and make a difference in the communities they are part of as well as impacting the world to make it better and enhance the quality of life for others. Our uniqueness and value stems from God who loves his creation in all its variations and potential. It is the responsibility given to adults to nurture and train children in the ways of the Lord and for them to honour and love God. God is our foundation and life. Whatever differences exist which adds to the uniqueness of each individual we are brought together by the love and grace of God in Christ Jesus.
Perhaps we should focus more on the specifics of desired similarities, not differences. The specific ‘way’, the ‘truth’ and the ‘life’ imply wholeness, integration and unity in purpose, meaning and destiny as Jesus fully exemplifies. Unfortunately, humans rationalise and often excuse their behaviour and thinking on being simply unique and different. That can be a cover up overlooking or hiding what should be faced or revealed. All that a person was meant to be is brought out in the life of Jesus who we imitate by the Spirit of God. Any educational or schooling or deschooling endeavour that reduces Christ reduces life and authentic learning and teaching. The only thing that counts and makes a difference is faith expressing itself in love and a new creation. We can never fully and truly educate a person to be and do to make a difference, to bear fruit, apart from Christ, no matter what system or structure or programs we use. We lead, we teach, we disciple and discipline from self, sin and Satan to serve, love, praise our loving faithful Father and love the world and people around us using the gifts and resources God has given us. Being different only has value if it leads us to work together building and growing to make a difference, to enhancing the quality of people’s lives including the students as they find themselves in God’s will and exalting and glorifying the Lord in the process.