The right to have teaching adapted to your ability

We heard from Valerie Irving, one of our Quality Improvement officers, this afternoon who had visited Oslo, Norway before the summer.

Two of the key principles which guide the education system are:

“The right for every student to have teaching adapted to his/her abilities within the class framework”

“The mode of teaching must not only be adapted to subject and content, but also to age and maturity, the individual learner and the mixed ability of the entire class”

Our own Additional Support for Learning Act suggests a similar entitlement but not in such a specific manner.

Children have a metaphorical “cultural rucksack” in which students place the cultural experiences they are entitled to during their school lives.

2 thoughts on “The right to have teaching adapted to your ability

  1. I had a Norwegian project for composite classes in our Fife school/town-through its Norwegian town twinning link and worked very happily and to good effect with the Norwegian consulate. I found their openness (my class had the run of the Consulate on Norwegian National Day in June-I think; icecream etc was laid on) and zest for democracy and culture something to admire. They were also some ten years ago very conscious of their global duties as a rich northern countries. I like the idea of the cultural rucksack!

  2. When I was doing some research on the history of Scottish educational values, time and time again the right for a student to learn on an equal basis to others would appear. For me, this means not only the basic right to a teacher, classroom, books etc that the 19th or 20th century’s aspirations would lead us to think of, but to a 21st century set of possibilities.

    Equality in the 21st century has to go beyond simple ‘rights’ and ‘entitlements’. Setting benchmarks of minimum levels of equality leads to misinterpretation of equality. It happened in languages education in Scotland, where education leaders by and large took ‘entitlement’ to think small, narrow and low (i.e. an entitlement not to learn a language if you don’t want to, rather than an entitlement in the more open and positive sense of “study as many languages as possible, and demand more if you feel you’ve not got choice beyond French”).

    I’d prefer to see a much more open-ended understanding of the concept that allows us to reassess the notion much more regularly, without the need for another policy or word from “on high” to let us know we can change our ways.

    In this century, personalisation in every sense of the word is possible thanks to relatively new tools that make it more possible than even five years ago. It’s not just personalisation for the five minutes of the lesson where the *teacher* chooses to “address your learning style”, if such a thing even exists. It’s the choice to choose what, how, when and where you learn, with the tools and environment that the learner, not the institution, chooses.

    Some would say that learning to learn in other, new ways might open your eyes to something you didn’t know before. However, given that most students’ experience of learning is still a bit mono, with a few channels to choose from (eight at Standard Grade, five at Higher etc etc), I don’t think there’s any harm in encouraging more of them to go stereo and digital, with unlimited channels of information and plenty of ways to upload their thoughts to the collective intelligence, too.

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