It is essential that teachers understand children are all individuals with their own styles of learning, they have their own problems, interests, strengths and weakness'. Schooling in the twenty-first century is not a case of factory production, as it may have been seen last century, and today we empathise that many students may have problems at home, either family sickness, economic difficulties or, sadly, abuse. If teachers become aware of these problems it is important to seek appropriate help and support.
Every student is different, be it their sex, culture, economic circumstances, learning style, mental aptitude or ethnicity, and these differences can lead to overt or subliminal discrimination. Garcia (1984) says that the best way to overcome discrimination is by eliciting excellence from everyone. Hatton (2001) talks of Henry's (1989) study of teachers lowered expectations of working class students and the same can be said for many minority groups. For example, it is estimated that up to 30% of people who suffer from autism have average to above average intelligence (Donnelly & Altman, 1994; Rimland, 1978) and up to 1% are gifted.
Without treating people as individuals but labelling them, they might not have the opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way to society.
It is important to recognize children as individuals and recognize what interests them, children would benefit more from their education if their teachers found out what motivated and excited the individual students and then used that personal drive to steer them towards individual learning (Winner 2000). This is a teacher's role, to motivate individuals to learn. Dewey (1936) and Beane (1997) both agreed that learning should be meaningful to individual persons but also be of value to society. If students, even gifted ones, don't see meaning in their individual learning they may well contemplate dropping out...