Mill’s Concept of Self-Analysis

Gutek (2011) explains Mill’s implication that ‘in the educative process, the learner is to be appreciated as an individual personality ho has her or his own ideas, interests, needs, and values.  Attention needs to be focused constantly and consistently on the learner, who possesses unique potentialities to achieve fulfillment as a human being and to contribute from her or his unique individuality to the happiness and welfare of others.”  To me, this echoes my district’s mantra of ‘Every child, every day’.  As educators, our self-analysis is a tool ensuring reflection of instructional planning and delivery.  What is imperative to weave into that reflection is the differentiated needs of our learners, and the assurance that it is a ‘whole-student’ differentiation: based not only on readiness and learning style (needs?) but also interests and culture and purpose.  Yet, we cannot stop there.  As explained above, we also have to provide an environment where our students can utilize their individual strengths and attributes to contribute to the overall classroom environment.  I believe that’s the true difference between differentiated learning and individualized learning, with differentiation being built around a communal objective while meeting the individual’s needs.  I feel that in my own self-analysis, I am making strides when it comes to differentiation, but often assess as an end-goal the achievement of each individual student.  By examining Mill’s philosophy, I now want to take that further: now that my students have learned, how can the individual’s fulfillment of the objective serve to further enrich the community?  In analyzing that question, it might be truly possible to elevate the learning experience.

Gutek, G.L. (2011) Historical and philosophical foundations of education: A biographical introduction. Boston, MA: Pearson.

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