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The First Freeze


Last night the first freeze of the season descended forcing us to bring the house plants we keep outside inside. Today, we leave on a two week hiking trip to South America, poor me. Before leaving I had to water the plants now ensconced inside.


Each plant needed a different amount of water. One plant needed to be soaked in the sink and for another too much water would drown it. Each plant was placed in the house depending on how much light it desires. I am hopeful by next spring all the plants will be thriving as they move back outdoors.


My plant care had me contemplating the tension between insisting all children are taught the “basics” and share the same cultural knowledge versus that students are individuals and need differentiated instruction and the autonomy to choose their own studies. I think this is a both/and, not an either or.


Just as all my plants need to be inside before it freezes and need to be watered, they also need different amounts of water and are placed in different parts of the house depending on how much sun they like.


Students can have a common foundation of knowledge and be given the autonomy to choose a piece of their educational path. Some pedagogy can be consistent for all while some can be varied to different learning styles.


We are all individuals and should be treated that way, and we are all part of the collective and should understand the common mores of our culture to be able to thrive (and perhaps change) it. We can and should do both.



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