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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Teaching Disabilities

Scott came home from Sunday school and explained what the teacher said, "Just because you have learning disabilities, you still have to do your crossword puzzle."

I told Scott to sit down next to me and tell me everything. He vented all his feelings. Then I suggested that we look at this in different ways.

First, "Is this the teacher that had problems with William last year just because he was homeschooled? Is it the one who often said he needed practice with the scissors, he's a lefty, and the teacher never provided the correct pair for him?"

"Yes."

Second, I clarified, "This is the teacher who wants all the students to take a turn reading passages from the lesson and she skips you?"

'"Yes."

I showed him a book Lauren lent me called, The Fluent Reader. On the first page it says that "Round Robin Reading which is often used in the classroom is very detrimental to students." The book's purpose is to bring out the reading potential in your student. It describes damaging habits commonly found in the classroom. It suggests exercises to enhance reading lessons and when round robin might be beneficial. Scott easily understood the teacher had some bad teaching habits.

Next, I said, "Each week she gives the students a crossword puzzle on the lesson's theme. The girls tend to enjoy the puzzle and complete them week after week. The girls have "mastered" the skills needed to do crossword puzzles and they are no longer challenged. The boys, overall, are restless and want something else to do, (and some still need help with the fine motor and thinking skills for crossword puzzles). The boy's time is wasted. They are not learning. Week after week no new skills are learned--boys or girls. Additionally, for the teacher to tell you, you have to do the puzzles without offering any specific help is a bit ridiculous. It's very similar to telling William to improve on his scissor skills without giving him the correct tool to cut." Scott sees this point too.

"Now," I explain to Scott, "What if she asked you instead to make a model of WWII weapons or maps and you explain it all to the class instead of doing the Holocaust crossword puzzle, you'd be excellent at it. I don't even know that stuff. Another student can put the puzzle on the overhead projector and lead the class in how she approaches the puzzle. Wouldn't that be a better way to get everyone interested and learning again."

"Yes."

We decided everyone in the class has strengths and weaknesses and a good teacher would know how to bring the best out in everyone. That is when we decided the teacher has teaching disabilities. Scott clearly understands every student has potential and it's his teacher that's disabled.

"I am Scott C. and I approve this message."

9 comments:

Trish Chibas said...

Ugh! This breaks my heart! Why is this "teacher" still teaching? Doesn't she know that can kill a child's self esteem? Good thing he has a great mom like you to show him the right way.

Allana Martian said...

I love this post!!! You hit the nail on the head. I'm impressed that you talked through the process with your son so he understood he wasn't the problem here. Your a good mother!

Lauren said...

Scott is very lucky to have such a savvy mom to make him feel better. I'm glad to hear that the book is being put to good use, rather than collecting dust on my shelf for the time being.

ScienceGeek said...

The teacher's attitude really upsets me. Examples like this make me so happy that I'm homeschooling my son with learning differences, instead of exposing him to situations that would destroy his self esteem. The way you talked to him was excellent. I feel like I've empowered my son by educating him on how and why he learns differently than most. When our kids understand they're not stupid, just different, they have the tools to stand up for themselves in these types of situations. Great job!

Christy ~ Munch75 said...

What a creative way to show him the flaw in the teaching style while pointing out what he can do ... I'm impressed! Way to go!

KMDuff said...

I love how you positively handled all of that! What a wonderful empowerment of your son.

megan said...

Well put! I hope I can be that helpful when someone is clearly being so hurtful.

Tammie said...

Oh you said it! I don't understand why "teachers" don't understand this! Or In-Laws for that matter! ;) We all have gifts and talents and "labeling" someone just because they learn differently then you are used to teaching us very unproductive. Way to go Mom you handled it perfectly!

shivani jain said...

Hello..i simply have no words to say,while reading all the article's related to dyslexia,it seeded i was narating my story Denise. infact scott is still young,i faced problems with my son when he was 10yrs old,now he is 13+,a big boy,and now i have to deal with his teen age syndrome with ADHD,and i havent given up and never will,but felt so nice and light after reading yr experience and gr8 efforts,iam gladall the time and pain i went thru is worth it,cuse my son is worth a better future,i owe him this.
The golden rule in such situations,never give up,n make i cant do it ,to u can. i dont know to ,yes u do, and most important never say NO,to them instead say we will see.they are our special child,and they need us more than the world does.
godbless your famly,and a gr8 future for scott.
shivani jain(india)

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