Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bo provided a link in my comment section on how children learn differently. It is worth the read. Kids will be kids, but they are definitely different. It reminded me of my public school days.

One day in a teacher’s meeting, we were being encouraged to get our bilingual certification. Although the students did not speak Spanish any more than I did, the district would get more money if more teachers were certified. Bilingual education is big bucks. One of the new teachers leaned over and said, "I don’t get it. What exactly is bilingual education if it is not speaking a different language?" This is what I told her: bilingual education is teaching a child in the language he learns best. All of these kids speak English. Sometimes when you teach a new science theory, you may give the info verbally. Some of the students won’t get it. So you write it on the board. Some will get it: others won’t. So you do a hands on experiment to better teach the theory. You teach the theory over and over in different ways until they understand. Bilingual education is finding how best each kid learns and teaching him in that way. Unfortunately, this does not work well in public school. Sometimes, you have teachers who are willing to compromise and try new things. Most times, those teachers are few and far between – not because they don’t want to do a good job; they just do not have the time.

I hope you know that is not what bilingual education really is, but it should be. Most public school students eventually learn to play the game of education, but others do not. The old adage, "You can’t fit a square peg into a round hole" says it all. I have seen parent, student, and teacher in a death struggle. The teacher gives 20 problems in class. The square peg student’s eyes roll back in his head. He only gets five problems done. The teacher keeps him in from recess as punishment. He still does not get them done. The teacher adds more problems and sends them home with a note to the parent. The parent is now struggling to get the student to do the work plus the extra problems. The parent goes in to talk to the teacher. The teacher thinks that all students should be able to do the 20 problems and won’t budge. The student now has to finish the first 20 plus do the next assignment. Everyone is crazed at this point, and what is the point – to learn a math concept or keep each student busy or cause severe frustration? The teacher thinks that the parent is not doing a good job, the parent thinks the same of the teacher, and the student just hates school.

Hang in there. Kids are worth it and school is not the end all.


Becky said...

Cody definitely learns by doing. His art teacher gave the students a test this year to show their learning strengths. Cody was primarily kinesthetic, while visual learning was second, and auditory learning was way down on the scale.

I could have told them that. When he was little, I was trying to teach him the alphabet. He just wasn't catching on until I bought him a set of alphabet magnets. Within just a day or two, he knew all the letters and their sounds, and was spelling simple words.

Unfortunately, most school systems do not allow for these types of learners.

Laurie said...

This was my son's experience with school exactly. But not just with one subject. Totally crazy. He might get one teacher here or there that he could really work well with, but overall it was just plain frustration all the time. I let him drop out after 10th grade, he went to an ecumenical program they have in the community where kids go 4 days a week for 4 hours and study for the GED. He passed that no problem. He tried one semester of community college, hated it. At 20 now I'm trying to steer him toward a trade program with no extra academics. But his past experiences don't lend to his being excited about trying it. He's working part time in retail. What else do you do with a kid like that?