“Learning from Our Students”, Noddings Response

After reading this article by Nel Noddings, I am left with many different thoughts because I agree with a lot of her arguments. We can learn so much from our students if we just take time to acknowledge their ideas and perspectives. I also agree with my fellow students who have said mutual respect is important in the classroom. You will not receive respect if you don’t treat your students with respect.

Noddings addresses on page 156 that some teachers believe that “… high school students do not yet know what they really want to do, and so they may deprive themselves of preparation they need.” To me, this statement is so broad and unfair. Of course sometimes this will be true, but not definitely not fair to state about every high school students. Personally, I don’t think it is fair for teachers decide what is best for their students if their students themselves don’t know at that point what they want to strive towards in life, therefore they decide to push certain courses onto them. Certainly many students have no clue what they where they want to go after school and may need time to decide. I myself am not 100% certain where my life will go. No one knows what will happen with their lives, regardless of how much they plan and prepare. Instead of pushing students into classes or courses that the teacher thinks is best, perhaps there is a way of trying to explore different options with each individual that is tailored to their specific interests and skills.

Another concept in the article I found really interesting is the reality of grades in school. I absolutely agree that many students (both university and high school) consider grades to be the most important aspect thing from a class. However, I did also find this to be some what confusing because although I completely agree that grades are not the most important thing that comes out of a class, especially when thinking about who has the highest grade average and so on, it is somewhat confusing because unfortunately it is an important piece in pursuing a post secondary career and then eventually starting a career because grades and education are valued in our society presently.

I will end off with Noddings argument about the fact that all students are required to receive equal education.  She says that this “…may be a dramatic example of inequality” (156). I fully agree with that statement because I don’t believe that students should all be taught the same things in the same way. Fair does not mean equal, you get what you need. Some need more practice whereas some have already mastered that particular skill. Each student is an individual learner and consequently need separate instruction and goals. One student’s lowest grade may be another’s highest and proudest. Not all your students should have the same goals, but they should have goals to strive towards, separately.

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