Last week we talked about the "Curriculm Ship"  that leaves the dock in September, plowing forward until it reaches its destiny. That some have fallen off the ship appears to be immaterial. The ship must proceed.

The blog generated a fair amount of reaction from teachers and parents.

The first is from an elementary school teacher:

"Hence the creation of "differentiated instruction" which on paper sounds great but when dealing with 26 + in a classroom the likelihood of a teacher, even a veteran teacher doing this successfully is not good. We need to look at the curriculum and possibly go back to the A & B classes so that children are not hampered by slower learners and slower learners can feel as if they can succeed at their own pace.

Another came Amy, a fourth grade teacher;

"I just wanted to let you know that the Curriculum Ship blog was a great analogy for my students. It is so true – we are merely keeping them afloat, hoping that they will hang in there…It is sad, but true, that some of my students will let go of the preserver soon. While they may make it in 5th grade, they probably won’t much more after that!"

From Pat, a mother of 12 year old who has struggled over the years, she said:

"It’s too bad that parents aren’t tutored in knowing what size life preservers to keep on hand for their children! As the curriculum gets more difficult, it seems the theory of "one size fits all" for the curriculum could not be more in error! If this ship is sailing along steadily, ignoring who has gone overboard, you would think someone would notice and sound an alarm! Instead, we blame the child for not trying hard enough – and treading water in deep seas will only keep you alive for so long!"

All of these points are very valid, I believe. The "differentiated instruction" theory while still very popular, would seem to be extraordinarily difficult for a teacher. Staying with the water metaphor, how does one work with a group in the deep end of the pool, while others are floundering on the other side in the shallow end? I guess, as Amy says, you are just trying to keep them afloat, but that isn’t very satisfying, is it? The sanctity of the curriculum and its "one size fits all" nature is also frustrating to the strugglers. They just can’t keep up.

Well, in the coming weeks try and enjoy the holiday season – we will get back to teeth gnashing after the first of the year!.