How can we foster an environment where all children learn? If you were on a boat and it began to sink, you’d never save only those within your reach, would you? You would go into a survival mode that ensured every person made it to dry ground. Shouldn’t the approach to education be the same?
Our children come to us from various backgrounds that require us as educators to enhance our vision of the classroom. We need to create environments that students feel comfortable despite their level of knowledge. Are we giving options for sharing what they know, what their dreams are or what kind of day they had? Maybe sharing aloud is not their strength but hand them a pencil and paper and you’ll have a masterpiece. Without understanding our kiddos, we will constantly struggle to find where to begin implementing instructional practices.
But there are so many needs! Yes. Thinking through your class and ensuring that all students are able to express their understanding will create success. The work upfront will take some time but the payoff is rich. The classroom should not be based on teacher desires the room to look like but on student needs-both academically and emotionally.
There is a framework: Universal Design for Learning. It works and you’ll find that what benefits one, can help all. You can do this and your students need to be saved off that sinking ship. We can’t afford for even one not to make it.