Wednesday, 1 October 2008

One size fits all?

I have spent most of the last week chatting to other parents about their boys (and girls) and have discovered a very familiar theme. Although I would not make a sweeping generalisation about boys and understand that some girls slot into this category, and some boys don't, I have discovered that lots of children, boys in particular, do not seem to 'fit'with school. In school children are taught to sit still, listen well, practice neat handwriting, read quietly, walk slowly..... all lovely things which sound very right, but what if this feels impossible to you? What if you need to move so that you can learn? Ok, now I can hear all the teachers shouting at their computers - shout away! I can't hear you!!

Yesterday I was talking to a friend whose little boy got into trouble for being the 'class clown'. She says he is very bright, but is bored. Apparently he can't sit still. I understand how a fidgety child can be irritating for a teacher, but instead of disciplining them for wriggling, maybe its better to work out how that child learns. Some people, including me, need to move a part of their body so that they can listen better. One example of this is doodling whilst on the telephone. Lots and lots of boys need movement, and not just in Early Years where there is already opportunity for this. If this was provided at all levels, boys would learn more. I am not a teacher and don't pretend to be an expert, but have you ever seen a classroom where the boys are all sitting quietly practising their handwriting, while the girls wriggle, fidget and quickly scribble something down so that they can be let loose to go and play? I haven't. Whenever Toby does his homework (...hmmm homework for a 6 year old is a whole new blog!!) he writes as quickly as he possibly can. I say 'Remember Toby, nice and neat; take care with it; don't scribble; make sure you put a neat line through it if you get it wrong'. What does he do? Ignore me most of the time! He writes it quickly. He doesn't think before he writes. He makes a mistake, so he almost makes a whole in the paper scribbling it out. He doesn't like writing. He doesn't see the point in it. So he doesn't want to waste his time learning how to do it better. Especially when he has to write about something he's not interested in......

Are our schools using a 'one size fits all' approach to teaching our children? If they are, its no wonder that lots of children drop out or lose confidence in themselves. Those are the children who are not being taught in a way that helps them learn.

On a positive note, Max (4 yr old superhero in the making) managed to get into 'silver' today, which means he was very good! If you know Max, that was a lovely surprise for me, bearing in the mind that last week he got into 'red' (very very bad) for strangling someone in the playground...... I blame the parents!

I have been awake in the night (not unusual in my house) worrying about upsetting teachers. I thought I should add that I have had very good experiences of teachers and think they work very hard and do a good job with the 'system' they have to work under. Don't all write in defending yourselves because I genuinely like you!!

1 comment:

babyboys said...

come on , i'm waiting for the next installment! x