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Problem solving and thinking critically

The Same-Differently

  • �Learning is to problem solve and think critically, to analyze and interpret different perspectives, to be
    creative and use the world as a tool to innovate, to be proficient in reading, writing, and math. Learning is
    expressing and working with the desire and interest to keep learning.� (Littky, 2015, p. 159)

Identify an idea you have generated based on your reading of this chapter that you believe you could
implement in your classroom or professional practice, even in some small way. You might not be able to
change the focus of the school and a major paradigm shift might not be in your control, but dream. What
could you do that would result in the opportunity for deeper, more engaged learning for at least one of

your students? Be creative.

Develop that experience or idea through a lesson plan, proposal for the activity, or other relevant
document that fully describes what you envision. After doing so, write a short (2 page) reflection that
articulates the rationale for the choice you made and how you hope this will further the pursuit of equity in

your professional practice.


The Same-Differently
Part 1: Proposal

Chapter 8 talks about two major issues with one of them focusing on treating all learners
fairly through the use of different teaching approaches based on their individual needs. The
second issue addressed in this chapter is the wide picture in which the concept of learning is
viewed. The main idea that has been generated from the readings of this chapter and that could
be implemented in the classroom to improve professional practice is Big Picture Learning. This
one-page proposal details the idea of Big Picture Learning among today’s academic institutions.
Littky (2015) has extensively explored the concept of Big Picture Learning in a manner that can
influence the reader to approach learning from a different perspective. Big Picture Learning is a
form of learning that involves the acquisition of new knowledge, application of the acquired
knowledge into practice, and utilization of critical thinking skills to solve complex problems
(Janney and Snel, 2013).
Since 1995, Big Picture Learning has greatly transformed the lives of both educators and
learners alike. As pointed out by Littky (2015), Big Picture Leaning is based on three major
learning principles. First, it emphasizes that the teacher can profoundly influence learning among
students by focusing on specific goals and interests of every learner. Second, it pays attention to
a curriculum that addresses the needs of the learner, and third, Big Picture Learning is based on
the premise that the quality of work done by a student should be used to measure his or her
academic abilities. Based on the principles of Big Picture Learning, a learner will be considered

competent if he or she can apply critical thinking skills in; solving real world problem;
interpreting varied perspectives, utilizing creativity to develop opportunities for renovation, and
to demonstrating proficiency in writing and reading (Littky, 2015).
Part 2: Reflection and Implementation

The rationale behind selecting Big Picture Learning as the main idea generated from the
reading is the ever changing composition of populations in today’s world, and the greatest need
to teach children how to solve complex problems and to respect their colleagues. According to
Littky (2015), although the world is changing at a rapid rate, quite some factors that drive that
change are static. For this reason, children in today’s society are expected to utilize a different
approach to problem-solving from the one used in traditional society. Moreover, today’s students
are highly exposed to the happenings in the real world as opposed to the way it used to be in the
past. This is because technological advancements play a huge role in spreading information to
children in the modern society (Janney and Snel, 2013). To analyze this information and draw
meaningful ideas from it, today’s children must apply their critical thinking skill to interpret
different perspectives and to influence meaningful change. This will only be possible if these
children are taught to learn from a Big Picture Perspective.
Additionally, children in today’s society tend to establish their social and academic needs
early enough in life. These children cannot be educated about their life’s needs effectively using
traditional approaches to teaching. This is because traditional approaches to teaching do not
recognize the fact that children have needs that they always strive to fulfill just like adults.
Furthermore, the traditional teaching methods are ineffective in helping students to apply and
integrate taught concepts in real world situations. As opposed to traditional methods of learning,

Big Picture Learning will successfully impact knowledge to students and will prepare them to
solve critical problems which are common in today’s world (Littky, 2015).
Children in a classroom normally have different needs, and the teacher is charged with the
responsibility of ensuring that every student’s needs are effectively addressed. According to
Janney and Snel (2013), the role of a teacher almost resembles that of a medical doctor. In a
hospital setting, patients normally approach the doctor with varied medical needs. In such a
scenario, the doctor cannot administer the same drug to all patients as this will leave the needs of
some of them unaddressed. Similarly, in a classroom setting, the teacher must attend to every
student at an individual level to meet their academic needs. In addition to personalized teaching,
the teacher should implement a Big Picture Learning approach in order to prepare all round
learners who can solve problems encountered in daily life (Scott, 2016)
Knowledge of Big Picture Learning can be implemented in an academic institution as an
approach to equity promotion in professional practice. While utilizing Big Picture Learning to
promote equity in the classroom, the teacher must handle learners fairly by utilizing different
approaches to learning because students have unique needs which should be addressed
differently to enable all members of the classroom to excel (Harper, 2015). Specifically, the
teacher should implement instructional strategies that are aimed at improving critical thinking
skills of individual learners. With improved critical thinking skills, students will be in a position
to interpret perspectives differently and to apply creativity in solving problems that they
increasingly encounter in real life situations (Janney and Snel, 2013).



Harper, L. (2015). The Voices and Hearts of Youth: Transformative Power of Equity in Action.
In A. M. Blankstein, P. Noguera, & L. Kelly. (2016).Excellence through Equity: Five
principles of courageous leadership to guide achievement for every student. Alexandria,
VA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development. ISBN: 978-1-4166-2250-
Janney, R. & Snel, M. (2013). Teachers’ guide to inclusive practices: Modifying schoolwork. 3rd
ed. Baltimore: Brookes Publishing
Littky D. (2015). Who wants a standardized child anyway? Treat everyone the same differently.
In A. M. Blankstein, P. Noguera, & L. Kelly (2016). Excellence through Equity: Five
principles of courageous leadership to guide achievement for every student. Alexandria,
VA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development. ISBN: 978-1-4166-2250-
Scott, A. (2016). Poor children, a new majority in public schools.

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