martes, 20 de marzo de 2012

A pending issue

Once I had a meeting with the mother of a weak student and she said "You are always prizing the good students. The best speaker goes to the tea party, the good reader goes to the library, the best student goes to the flag. I know that my son is never going to be the best speaker nor the best student, so how do you motivate my child? In which kind of special activity do you include him?" I do not remember exactly my words, but I do remember my thoughts at that moment. I was thinking ...You are right...
How do we help those concerning cases in their learning process?
We give them some extra patience, 5 minutes of exclusive time in the classroom, some special activities to do at home, a "come on, you can do it!" encouraging words, and many times we suggest parents to look for extra help somewhere else. Are we only pushing foward the good-and-well-behaved students? What about the weak-and-naughty ones?
I now that we do a lot for those kids, but I wonder if we do what they need.
There are things that cannot be solved at school, but does it mean that we cannot teach those kids?
Could we create a motivating enviroment at school for those kids? A place and time to give them the strategies they need to solve their difficuties? We made some promises... I offered my help...
I would like to start working with these children and base my reflections on that experience.

5 comentarios:

  1. Moni,what an interesting topic you have chosen to focus on! Being my eldest son a good student has not allowed me to experience what that lady felt.
    However, my second experience, my daughter put all those feelings into evidence...I would say that here there are two main issues to reflect upon: on the one hand, how students that make efforts can reach the moment of glory, when teachers show them how proud they are of their work, and on the other hand, the big challenge: how to help them to move forward, to improve,to defeat their weaknesses...
    I wonder if you have a plan, a proposal to analyse. what kind of work do you consider we should do with them? who could fall in the category?
    let's try to move one step forward and see...

  2. Wow, quite a fascinating subject you have raised... We might start asking ourselves why it is that we need to "schoolarize" our kids... well of course, because otherwise it would be too difficult to work with large groups... But trying to square the circle is a much more demanding task and of course it is the kids who suffer from the attempt...

    I particularly liked the book on attention I recommended to Vivi yesterday. There was this boy who did not do well at school and in the end has succeeded... (Read Davidson 2011 Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn)

    On the other hand you also mention the need of showing high levels of emotional competence, the ability to understand what is happening to the other, ability to empathise, place yourself in the kids' shoes... Fascinating topic!!! More food for thought...

  3. What an interesting topic to work on Ms Moni!!Last year I had no problems of this kind, but this year I have a concerning case. I'll keep on reading your comments and finding a solution for this. For the moment I'm trying to give possitive feedback even in the littlest achievements.

  4. Excellent question you posed Moni!!
    An existential one for teachers?
    I was just thinking...what about the multiple intellingeces??
    We always prize sts whose linguistic intelligence is outstanding, but what about the rest? maybe this student you are talking about would fit within any other intelligence we never consider in class...

  5. How interesting Moni!
    It's an issue I have always reflected upon. Since I started working as a teacher, I have struggled hard to make the best of myself to cater for these students' needs, and I have always felt that what I do is not enough. I tend to blame myself for that, but I am also aware of the fact that we try to solve everything on our own, and it is not always the way reality works. We can give special prices, like monthly certificates for the student who makes the biggest effot, in order to motivate them and make them feel we are aware of how they try hard to improve everyday. Telling them that we are proud of their achievents and atittude has a very strong power and does work. On the other hand, I've found myself a thousand times rushing from one end of the classroom to the other trying to help everybody, catering for every child's need and I've found it quite frustrating to see that I could hardly ever achieve my aim. As a consequence, we tend to tell these children's familes to look for help outside the school. However, I strongly believe that there should be a space at school in which these kids could sit and work with a teacher to receive the help they need, which is not always possible to do inside the classroom with 20 other students who also need to teacher to be there. However, I am also aware that this is not always possible...
    What a diffcult issue!!