Over the past decade or so, there’s been a substantial increase in standardized testing, assessment and curriculum. The National Board for Teaching Standards states that, “The most commonly used measure of student achievement is a standardized test. Such standardized assessments measure specific areas of achievement–for example, the extent to which a 3rd grader has mastered the English/language arts standards in his or her state or district…” But is standardized education a best practice for all teaching environments?
Teachers argue that standardized testing limits the ways in which students can learn, think critically and creatively, and problem-solve. Teaching through standardized curriculums allows students to learn through a prescribed set of rules, rather than intrinsic motivations, exploration and discovery. Besides that, teachers feel that students have more knowledge than what is reflected through their standardized tests and assessments.
What do we mean by individuality in education?
Rather than instituting a collective approach to teaching, teachers can give students the freedom to hone in on their own individual talents and potentials. In order to help students realize these potentials, they should be encouraged to expand their curiosity, ask questions, think creatively and use their imaginations. Individual thinkers develop the ability to “think outside of the box” and find alternative solutions when tackling problems. They gain social skills, like empathy, communication and compromise.
Learning with a wide range of materials and resources spark students’ interests, allow various types of learning for each individual student and helps them engage in the lesson in the most effective way. For example, when learning about metamorphosis, students can greatly benefit from seeing the “real thing,” as opposed to textbooks, have Q&As with biologists, do their own research, projects and activities. It also leaves room for integrating educational approaches like STEAM, project-based learning and Flipped Classroom.
Creatubbles can be used as an additional resource that students can learn through independently. They can filter out the topics and engage with creations and students from over 50 countries. To stick with the example, a student can search for a butterfly on Creatubbles. This particular creation comes from India. Are there butterflies in India? What types? What is their gestation periods? Students can feel free to interact with other students directly — and learn through wonder and exploration.
A fundamental part of learning for children is the ability to play, discover what excites them, find out what bores them, and take it upon themselves to find out how to be interested again. When teachers allow students to recognize their own individual capabilities, they have free reign to do just that.
Individualistic learning from a cultural approach
Geert Hofstede takes an interesting look at how individualist cultures focus on education. In collective societies, teachers are more dominant. Their job is to teach and lecture. Individualist teachers want to be challenged by their students. They encourage their students to offer their own thoughts and opinions.
In individualist societies, students expect to learn how to learn. They are more apt to speaking in large groups or in front of the class when invited by the teacher. When running into a conflict, individualist students feel comfortable discussing it and learning from the situation. And ultimately, students find that acquiring knowledge is more important than earning degrees or certificates.
Are you interested to becoming a more individualistic classroom? Start by signing your students up to Creatubbles and let them learn in a fun, engaging and independent way.