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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

Teaching Our Children

Working to put this issue’s articles together on Transformative Education made me consider thought-provoking ideas about how we teach our children. My brother-in-law, a vocal advocate of equal opportunity education, worked from a bedrock understanding that all kids are not created the same and that each has unique talents and abilities waiting to be revealed and nurtured. I deeply respected his tireless efforts to raise awareness of ways to level the playing field for all children, whatever their neighborhood of origin.

It’s heartening to see today’s groundswell of such thinking by parents and teachers that believe the best education children can receive is one that meets their individual needs and encourages their specific strengths. Innovative approaches to learning have shown us there are more effective alternatives to the old public school way of doing things. Students are now getting involved with their own learning environment and growing stronger teacher- student relationships. “Schools that Rock,” on page 19, provides examples of such forward-thinking by which children blossom and grow excited about their future, and ours.

I am reminded that I didn’t have an easy time of it in a traditional schooling setting. My attention would falter when subjects failed to resonate with me while teachers tried to drum them into my developing brain. The harder the subject was for me to digest, the more study time was expected, often sparking resentment sometimes followed by outright rebellion.

Attention deficit disorder was an unknown diagnosis back then, so the best that “slow” kids could do was muddle through, repeating classes and completing courses in summer school to ensure our graduation. Summer school proved to be an education in and of itself, introducing me to out-oftown “problem kids” from different lifestyles.

I always loved art and English classes although math and history dampened my innate drive. Later on, in college, I eagerly discovered Earth sciences and mechanical drawing but labored over business subjects like accounting. In hindsight, it seems obvious where my passions might take me but I wonder what expanded destiny I might have achieved if those early academic struggles were replaced with the freedom to explore, learn and embrace all that I loved.

Compared to my parents’ generation of schooling, I realize that growing up in the ’50s and ’60s my sister, peers and I had it pretty good. My father served on the school board for many years working hard trying to make our small town schools the best they could be. I am grateful for his efforts and for those of today’s legions of caring educators active in the quest to establish increasingly effective ways for today’s students to grow and prosper.

To the children and our future,

Don Moore, Publisher

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