While working on the web, I came across this blog, asking about the difference between equal and fair. I thought back to one of my first graduate classes when non-tracked classes were first being discussed. Even then, I thought there were pros and cons to blending everyone’s abilities. The idea was that everyone has something to offer, regardless of ability level.
The reality was that teachers did what they always do: they taught to the middle. Whereas in a tracked class, academically gifted students received greater challenges, in the non-tracked class these same students grew bored–even when they were encouraged to help their less capable classmates, which was supposed to help them feel valued. Conversely, while in tracked classes less able students were taught closer to their ability levels and skills enhancement was incorporated into their learning, they were largely left to flounder in non-tracked classes, receiving individualized help from the teacher only when the class was small enough and the teacher was skilled enough. Too often, these students became academically lost.
Check out this pre-service teacher’s blog; especially link to the YouTube video. Decide for yourself which is better.
Just a word:
This video leaves a lot out. The idea is to help people understand the gifted. I found it to be too restrictive; it seemed to define gifted students as Sheldon on “The Big Bang Theory.” Yes, there are Sheldons in the world, but they are not the only genii around. I know some ultra-bright famous individuals who are sociable, engaging, brilliant, funny, etc., all at the same time. Watch the video with an open mind.