Valuing is where we share the center. We make decisions together. Everybody is at the table. It is not just my way and we’ll let in some of your way. No, now it’s our way. And to make it our way, some of the time, those Traditional Insiders who used to occupy the center are going to have to change, too.
Many schools used to be run on a Sameness model. An example of this is when schools would teach students with a strong bias toward the lecture format (the teacher talks and the students listen) with a heavy emphasis on verbal and math skills.
Moving to Acceptance, in some classrooms a teacher would occasionally introduce an art project or a small group discussion. In this way some students who didn’t fit well into the Sameness Model were able to get an “A” in one area such as art or music but D’s and C’s in other traditional subject areas which were still taught in a lecture format emphasizing logic and math skills.
Now, thankfully, in recent years, teachers have been trained in teaching to different learning styles and types of intelligences. The classroom has expanded from trying to fit all students into one mold to welcoming and valuing students’ kinesthetic, aural and visual ways of learning as well as their multiple intelligences.
Notice the teachers did not have to lower standards to make the classroom more inclusive. We have the same high standards in these schools but they are open to more than one way to reach those high standards. Students still need to make the grade, but now there is more than one way of preparing students to get there.
In true valuing, students who were previously left behind don’t have to change to “fit in”. Instead, the classroom changes to fit the students when each student is valued for his or her gifts and unique ways of scholarship.
The interesting thing is that everyone benefits when an institution moves into true valuing. In true valuing, everyone gets to express more of himself or herself in the classroom whether it’s in terms of their type of smarts, their learning and communication styles, their ethnic background as well as any other part of their diverse and unique background.
In a school that is moving toward true Valuing, all the students are having more fun and, therefore, are feeling a sense of belonging in the classroom. More learning goes on for everyone.