Ten Questions: 9. How Do You Help the Less-Gifted?

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In big schools with big classrooms,  teachers may find themselves teaching to the lowest common denominator, and spending more time with the students who are slow. How do you deal with students who are less talented, without holding back the gifted ones?

Helen: We don’t value There’s always a variety in ability and effort. We don’t have a predisposition toward desiring a uniformity that dumbs-down the pace and curriculum. Rather, there’s a school-wide attitude of welcoming the differences.

Young boy raising hand in math class at Living Wisdom School in Palo Alto, California
The 1 to 8 teacher-student ratio at Living Wisdom school allows plenty of time to help every student individually. (Click to enlarge.)

We also have a long-range perspective. If a student in first grade isn’t adding and subtracting as quickly as the rest of the class, because of our size, we’re able to give that child many more learning experiences, with the goodwill and relaxed encouragement that they will be able to come along, in time.

That’s the other side of acceleration. Without the desire to make everyone the same, each child can grow in a way that’s realistic, and inspiring.

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