When you have one child, it’s pretty easy to believe that your parenting has shaped everything about their behavior. When our second kid came along, and proved to have (surprise!) different skills, strengths, and personality from her brother, we gained some perspective on how much the kid herself brings to the parenting equation. We were parenting, but they were childing — each in their different ways.
This is something that I’m sure teachers are reminded of every day. I even encounter it in Scratch Club. The range of ways that kids approach learning is mind boggling. It amazes me that teachers can get anything done in any context other than a 1:1 ratio.
Of course, the ability to accommodate different learning styles and speeds is one of the advantages of the experimental and experiential learning approach that STEM, programming, and maker projects encourage. Even in this context, though, some kids want to follow detailed stepwise instructions, other want to tinker with an existing structure, and others envision something out of whole cloth and want to build it out themselves. Giving kids the tools to work with, and an open ended environment with appropriate prompts, lets them experiment, explore, experience, and learn in the way that’s right for them.