Either or…

I’ve been working on this piece lately emphasizing the continued significance of the philosophy of education essay in teacher education programs. I argue that it ought to be the starting point for each class and that the process of revising this piece will make it that much stronger and relevant to the students.

But one of the things I’ve been addressing is how students deal with the question of location. One of my students wondered last semester why so much of our time was devoted to “urban education” when she just wanted to be a “regular teacher.” In a recent conversation within my department, the question of how much of a course ought to be devoted to special education and how much to “regular education.” In setting up my literacy course, I agonized over how much time ought to be devoted to “struggling” students and how much to “regular” students.

Are these distinctions necessary? Is good practice enough to address the needs of all students? Will well thought-out methods work, regardless of who is sitting in the classroom? Is there a distinction between appropriate and inappropriate methods based on the student population?

My gut response is no, but only if the teacher is paying very close attention to each student.

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