I've been trying to come up with an analogy to express why I dislike pull-out as a means of addressing special needs, specifically pull-out enrichment for gifted and talented students. I dislike labels to begin with, and I believe good teaching is good teaching and all students benefit from a strong, well-integrated student-centered approach to learning and a school culture that values and encourages excellence. Please note: I understand that there are some
special needs that are extreme and that may require pull-out programs and other resources. My point is that excellent classrooms can meet the true needs of many different learners. Not enough of these classrooms exist.
Let's think of each child as a cake that we are baking. In reality, there is no comparison to the growth and development of a human being to a cake. I know that. Let's move on.
There are many different kinds of cakes. That is the way it is supposed to be, right? All cakes are good. A chocolate cake is not supposed to be a banana cake, nor any other kind of cake. Each cake strives to be the most delicious cake it can be.
Many ingredients go into creating the cake. Since this is about education, let's talk about the important ingredient of education. Have you ever tasted a cake made from a boxed mix? I liken this to a "boxed" curriculum--worksheets and textbooks. These days there are some pretty fancy cake mixes out there, made with better than average ingredients and producing a darn good cake. These mixes, like a private education, cost a pretty penny. But no boxed cake mix can compare to a homemade cake, baked with quality ingredients. Think project-based, differentiated classroom. The best ingredients are good for all cakes. Fresh, organic eggs and high-quality butter are not going to turn a chocolate cake into a carrot cake, but they will enhance both cakes and help them be the best they can be.
Some bakers believe that their cake should be "pulled out" of the regular oven and baked in a convection oven. The convection oven is accelerated, and true, the cake may bake faster. However, their ultimate destiny is no different than that of the slower-baking cake. Each becomes the cake they were meant to become.
Some bakers insist on worrying over their cakes. They think if they constantly open the oven to check on the cake's progress, they will improve its outcome. Not so. They actually interfere with the all important process of cake development. All a baker can do is make sure that his cake is given the best possible ingredients and then love and appreciate it.