This week I came across 2 posts about the topic of choice, with the advice to limit them. The first was by Marie Forleo, the business and productivity guru. She talks about Decision Detox and “how making less choices gives you more freedom.” Of course, I thought about this in the context of education, and I’ve seen students freeze up when offered too many choices. I’ve heard this referred to as ‘the tyranny of choice.’
Then, co-incidentally, I received Ian Bryd’s email on a similar topic, Rethinking Extension Menus. I’m not sure if you can see this (I’m a subscriber), but the link is https://www.byrdseed.com/extension-menus-redux/. What he says is that offering a choice of products (poem, diorama, etc.) isn’t differentiation and that it’s the same thinking for all students, just restating information in a different way. While he makes clear that he’s talking about differentiating instruction rather than products, I’m not sure that I agree with the idea that it’s only about instruction.. Differentiation can mean differentiating the way that students demonstrate their understanding of a topic. But I would layer on going deeper into a subject area in a way that students’ interests dictate as a way to take this further.
He also talks about the difficulty in creating 9 (think typical choice board) individual tasks. Both for the teacher to create and students to choose. He also mentions that typical choice boards don’t give enough instructions. For my Choice Board I created one page per item on my wiki and was explicit about my requirements. But, oh yup, it was a lot of work putting that together. Byrd recommends picking one task “like a dish at a fine-dining restaurant” versus a menu of options. If you’re a Byrdseed subscriber, you can watch a video about this, or view more of his thinking on related articles.
I have more about these topics on my resources site: