Richard Branson wrote a fantastic piece last month on why there is no such thing as an ‘average’ human being. Reflecting on his own experience he writes, ‘The concept of ‘average’ has failed us in many different aspects of life – most notably in our educational institutions.’
Branson wants to see an education system that isn’t geared to making students fit in but enabling each one to stand out. He says when you base an educational system on the concept of an ‘average learner’, we fail to ‘recognise and nurture talent’.
I am sure there are many for whom schooling was a less than average experience. It illustrates how critical it is for teachers and leaders to see the world from the eyes of the learner, to understand what motivates and challenges and to provide ladders to climb instead of hurdles to jump.
At the start of our school year, I wanted to share the inspirational story of one of our former students. Nas Campanella lost her vision at 6 months of age and despite this, went on to achieve her goals including becoming the world’s first blind radio newsreader.
She spoke recently to our system leaders about her experience of schooling and her work as an advocate for students with disabilities.
Our work as teachers and leaders must be as advocates for all learners; opening the doors of learning no matter how challenging.