I don’t consider to myself as an artistic person, I leave that up to my children, and any creativity I do possess, is certainly buried under my lists of things to get done and facts to collect. But, lately I have realized how much art has crept into my work, as I engage in the practice of taking the whole and whittle it away to its most important parts. Not one that works with wood and a knife (for that would not turn out well) but a whittler nonetheless.
Taking our current educational system and discovering how to break that down into a set of skills and concepts that supports our students who struggle to learn is just that- it is whittling. We take the whole wood block and we cut, and scrape and we look at what is working and what is not, and then cut and scrape some more, often changing the angle, and always being guided by what is uniquely intrinsic to the child, until we have a creation that is unique.
No attempt comes out the same and the one before or after, even if we use identical blocks, and knives, and that is OK because they all turn out as they were intended, even the ones that look completely different than we imagined.
Whittling challenges us to take the whole and take away the parts that are unneeded in order to release the core, central idea. This is exactly what the process of providing supportive bridges to students to struggle to learn does. The taking of the whole and scraping down to the specific need and then figuring out how to make that visible to others is an ongoing need in supporting all kids. Recognizing that their end product will look different than any other, but that it will be uniquely theirs and innately beautiful is the reward at the end of the challenge. So pick up your wood block and your knife and get started. I can’t wait to see what you create.
Kristin Enriquez has dedicated her life's work to children with learning challenges and helping people work together to realize each student's potential. She is the proud mother of 4 children, one of which has Down syndrome. She is not an experienced blogger, or a professional website creator, but she does "tell it like it is," is a collector of facts, and loves sharing the amazing experiences and knowledge that have found her along the way,