What a great reason to get on your soapbox! I agree that we should not single out Gifted, Resource, or any other group of students. All students should be solving problems as part of their school program. This should apply across all subject areas and grade levels. We should not only teach "Reading" to a specific group ... nor should "Math" be promoted as for a single group. This past year another teacher commented that I only had the "cream of the crop" in my Biology class. He was surprised to learn I had special education students as well as ELL students. One of my favorite stories is how an autistic student passed Biology and decided he wanted to become an Oceanographer! (I wish I could take credit - but I believe he was blessed with an excellent family who supports him.)
How can we get administrators and those in charge to comprehend the need to bring Project Based Learning to the masses?
This has been a pet peeve of mine for many years.
"Gifted" students (academically gifted ones who could show it on a test) used to be pulled out from the classroom. In my district, their services were only 1.5 hours per week. The classroom teachers were rarely, if ever, asked to conference with the "gifted teacher" to try to coordinate activities.
Neil is right- ALL students could benefit from the small-group, intensive, project-based, student-centered instruction which was the model used in more "gifted" programs.
Another group of students pulled out from the "regular" classroom to receive individualized, target instruction are those who are under-achievers.
My big frustration was that those students who plugged along, didn't make trouble, didn't stand out in any particular way, were neglected. Wouldn't they often be the students who would absolutely shine if given this type of instructional environment and opportunity?
Though many studies show that class size does not affect student achievement, but if that is truly the case, why do we insist on small-group instruction for *special* students? I know- this is just a rhetorical question.
It brings us back to the need for highly educated teachers. Teachers given the most updated tools, training, (job-embedded, of course) and the freedom to implement promising and proven practices designed for the individuals in their care will be able to produce brilliant results!
Now, I'm stepping down off MY soapbox.