My son recently sent me this comic and it caused me both to laugh and also to think, “Oh too true.”
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this comic is worth at least a blog post. As educators, we can tend to think all students at similar abilities by being in the same grade or same course. And limited types of assessment only intensify the situation. We would like to think otherwise, but I read the attached illustration and thought “Ouch.”
The truth is that each of our students is created individually with unique skills, passions, and abilities. But not each one is skilled at “climbing the tree.” And so assessment determines who are not the “tree climbers” while the “non-tree climbers” get discouraged and disengage.
The quote included with this graphic has been attributed to Albert Einstein. You know, every student, uniquely created by God, has “genius” that just needs to be uncovered and cultivated. But the genius may not look like climbing a tree – and we have to not only be good with that but must facilitate multiple opportunities and varieties of engaging activities and assessments that differentiate multiple types of genius.
We ourselves, as facilitators of the genius, cannot pigeon-hole what “gifts and talents” have to look like. The world needs a thousand different types of genius.