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tlogan's picture

Bridging the Gap

First, here is something I was thinking about during our discussion last week. Though I believe neurodiversity in the classroom is the utmost importance, there needs to be an assessment of the end goal of education in order to determine which kinds of approaches need to be considered. Yes, I do believe it is important to weigh in equality into the educational system, but I also think that the educational system needs to have a certain amount of applicability and efficiency to be sufficiently effective. By reducing things like math and sciences to a broad, theory based curriculum I feel as though we lose what one set out to achieve. I couldn’t imagine engineering courses being helpful to anyone if the appropriate equations were not emphasized. It seems that one might redirect the focus of education in order to allow all to learn at an equal rate, but more effective might be something like the French lycée system, in which students going in different directions are split. I’m not advocating segregation based on neurological difference, rather schools which emphasize the difference and play to its strong suits.


I would like to discuss the opposite side by commenting in the ongoing discussion on neurodiversity put forward by Emily and Stephanie. I think we have (including myself) been thinking of neurodiversity as an obstacle to overcome in terms of teaching and translational knowledge. What if one were to think of it as a boon to the education system, in that perhaps the continuity of neurodiversity can be used to shape the system itself. Perhaps it would be important if rather than attempting to cater to anyone group, there were feedback mechanisms that did more than assess how completely students learned the material; these methods could serve as a guide for the teacher to bridge the gap between students of different learning types.


But then again, on the other side, one must think about how diverse a classroom can be before it begins to suffer in terms of efficacy. I know very little of autism, but from what I have experienced, it seems as though the methods for communicating material to autistic students would be much too divergent from what would be effective for “normal” students. It’s a quagmire.


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