Teaching the Smart vs. the Stupid LO13478

Michael Gort (gort@ms.com)
Mon, 5 May 1997 19:36:47 -0400

Replying to LO13416 --

I am attending the Society of Organizational Learning Core Course this
week. Daniel Kim told a story of a teacher who was given a "difficult"
class, a class of slow learners. Not willing to take this class at face
value, he went to the files and found that the class IQs were numbers like
125, 146, 138 and so on. He went back to the class and told them that they
were not stupid, they had very high IQs and that they were very capable of
learning at the same pace as other classes. The class began to perform at
or above "normal" levels. The principal was amazed and invited the teacher
in to talk about his special techniques. The teacher said, "I did not use
any special techniques. I looked at their files, saw they had above
average IQs, told them that they were normal and taught them in the same
way that I teach other classes." The principal was surprised about the IQ
information, and asked the teacher to show him were he had looked in the
file. It turns out that the teacher was looking at their locker numbers!

So how often do we classify students or colleagues as "slow learners" or
"special needs" or unable to master a technique? And how often does that
affect the way we view them, and the way they view themselves? How much of
this is self-fulfilling prophecy?


Mike Gort gort@ms.com

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>