I am always fascinated at how quickly we classify learners in our schools. So often I hear that classes are filled with FAS learners, learners who require placement in Special Education schools, learners who don't have the capacity to master CAPS or even pass on the basis of the new progression or promotion requirements. Some have even declared they have been targeted to teach children who are not teachable. Stuff that could make thrilling reading in any horror novel.
But here is an equally fascinating bit of research...on roosters. The Scientific American magazine reveals that chickens have definite intelligence. According to the study, chickens possess communication skills on par with some primates. Chickens use sophisticated signals to convey intent. Chickens use prior knowledge and experience to solve problems. According to researchers, chickens, through sound and movement, convey specific messages. Chicken calls refer to specific objects broadly in the way words used by people do. The sounds appear to make mental pictures prompting the birds to make appropriate responses.
Now this has got me thinking differently about a bird that for many of us is the mainstay meat meal, not excluding me. And it is not lost on me that human beings are on top-of-the-food-chain.
So, if we are masters-of-the-universe, how come so many of the adult world in teaching believe children cannot learn? How come so many learners are failing because they are classified unable to master the curriculum? Are they really worse in ability or capacity to master their learning environment than chickens? Or any other lesser being than ourselves?
If a chicken can develop, through its exposure to its surrounds, the ability to make decisions and use its environmental clues to define its behavioral response, then I fail to understand how we can actually believe there are children in our schools that must fail to learn, that holding them back is the solution of choice, that the lack of mastery is a direct reflection of the learner and not the climate the educator has created in the classroom!
We are talking of a child who is a product of the most sophisticated animal on earth; the most resilient of-all-species! A child who has trillions of cells that live in perfect harmony and the brain capacity to create new technology and change the known world! Do we see this capacity in our children? Or are we too "chicken" to admit we are inadequately unlocking our children?
What do you think?