Source: Open Education

Ben Grey at The Edge of Tomorrow represents yet another of those educators rightfully questioning the system at hand. Offering some very interesting and heartfelt dialogue, Grey’s work immediately struck a cord with this writer.

Skill Limitations
A piece that essentially addresses the insidiousness of NCLB, “The Ability Paradigm,” resonated beginning with the very first sentence.

“When I was a kid, I wanted to be a professional baseball pitcher more than anything in the world.”

Let me start by saying simply, “Me too.” One day I wanted to be the next Mickey Mantle. Another day, it was Willie Mays. But the desire to be a great baseball player and compete at the pro level was a constant for many years.

There was little league, Babe Ruth, middle school and high school. But unlike Ben, my career would come to an end at the high school level.

It wasn’t for a lack of trying. And it wasn’t because of poor coaching.

It was because I had physical limitations. Occasionally it would all come together – like during an at bat when I would put a good swing on the ball and crank one into the alley for extra bases – or a time in the field when I would get a great jump on a line drive to left center, reel it in with an out-stretched glove, then turn and make an accurate throw to the cutoff man.

But more often than not, the at bats would end in Ks and the drives to the outer-reaches of the outfield would fall beyond my grasp. And though I possessed a reasonably accurate arm, the subsequent throw to the cut off man, well let’s say he would have to give up his infield position if the ball were to reach him on the fly.

However, I must state that my lack of success on the athletic field did not go for naught – it taught me that with hard work I could in fact improve my skills. In fact, I learned quickly how hard I had to work to accomplish things with a ball and bat. And it also taught me humility – that is one benefit of learning one’s limitations.

In a positive twist for me, the opposite was true in the classroom. There I found that if I put my mind to things I could truly excel. But there in lies the real rub, at the time I could have cared less about academic excellence. I wanted to be an athlete.

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