Thursday, April 4, 2013

D is for Differences in Learning

I thought it might be time again for another education op-ed type thing. One of the things that I hear a lot as a teacher---especially in my particular school is from parents and sometimes students--"My son/daughter/I have learning differences."  They usually say it in this whiny voice with an intent to look for an exception or a teacher to spend ALL of their time with them and ignore all the other students that they have.  I have taken to saying something like, "That's nice, so do I."

Parents will usually pause and the kids will stare at me like, "Really you are a teacher and super smart?!"  I continue talking about how everyone learns differently.  If we all learned the same, we would all have the same personalities, and then we might as well be robots.  We have to figure out what helps us to learn best--but we can't use it as an excuse.  I know that I learn well with visuals and sounds--so when I am learning something I figure out how to make that happen.  That is what our students need.

As parents and teachers we want to help our students to be independent.  So, don't let them use the fact that they are totally different from everyone else as an excuse--use it to empower them.  You learn differently?  Great! What are you going to do to help yourself?  How can you advocate for yourself?  Just because you have an IEP does not give you license to not work and it definitely does not allow you to just sit back and not work hard.  Will you have to work hard then another student because of that?  Yes it is possible, but they have to work hard at something else that is easy for you.

Be okay with the fact that we are all different.


Jeremy Bates said...

i worked at a korean international school recently, and there were a few students that struggled with learning bc of certain disorders
the koreans running the school wouldn't acknowledge this and just said they need to do more work to catch up! it was crazy to witness

Anonymous said...

This is such a great way to address the issue. Every child has strengths and weaknesses - they need to build the strengths to help balance the weaknesses

visiting from a to z


Teresa Cypher said...

What a good post--and what a great response to the parents. SO true. I have three children, and learning was different as could be for each of them. :-)