Deficit thinking be gone!

“It’s amazing how far you are willing to go when someone believes in you”.

This past week I have been visiting schools I work alongside. It is always a delight to see the progress teachers are making in transforming their practice to more personalized, flexible, rich learning experiences for their students. I want to share a little of what I experienced over the week.

Walking into one class with 5 year olds I was met with students planning their own timetables based on their learning needs, seeing the teacher when their workshop was on and immersing themselves in a range of activities including play-based learning. One group of children were designing and constructing elaborate house designs, others filming themselves reading for their e-portfolio and one little girl was designing and hand-sewing clothes for her toys.

At a different school in a class of 7/8 year olds the students were at various parts of their inquiries, with some ready to create a platform for sharing their learning. One pair of students were in the process of teaching themselves to make their own website to share their learning on a global platform.

For those of you who think that your students can’t do it, that they need spoon-feeding, I challenge you and your deficit thinking. I challenge you to give your learners a chance; to open the doors to creativity and shared ownership of the learning. I challenge you to get out of your safe-zone and ask the students what they need for their learning. The industrial age is over, producing factory-stamped graduates is a by-gone era. The world needs creative, innovative, people who can use their initiative, think creatively and be emotionally fluent in the face of their ever-changing environment.

Enough is enough I say! Deficit thinking be gone! It’s time to replace it with the thinking and language of possibility. It’s time to believe they CAN and help them to get there.