Search This Blog

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Power Circles

Every primary school in the Netherlands has 'individual coaching', 'individual training' or 'individual adaptations' in its program for children. Hurray! 

Hurray? It all depends... on the goal of the individual approach. Most often it means that the child that is deviating from the mass, especially when it is functioning below average, will be pulled or pushed in the direction of the mean, so that it will fit in, in the bell curve, at an acceptable distance from the average.
Only rarely will a school state that it will help the child deviating from the normal range, to stay away from the mass and make its deviation even more pronounced.  Unless the child has a high IQ, the overrated trait in this rational society. Yet for some children it would have been the better option.
There's a hidden message in moving a child towards the mean and away from its own spot in the graph. It tells the youngster it's not a good child. That in order to be appreciated it has to do what others like or are good at. That its own inclinations and senses are wrong.

OK, so the extra lessons brought Mary's grade in maths from 2 to 6 ( from E to C) ... that's only good for Mary if she can now calculate with as much ease as the other kids. If she has to struggle for every 6 / C... how healthy is that?  In class she has to concentrate so hard, that she can't join in on the jokes and 'illicit' communications. She gets home tired and grumpy, Her class mates avoid her, so she is playing alone most of the time. She's not exactly developing her social skills.... all she is learning is that she'll have to walk on her toes the rest of her life. Don't be surprised if she's burned out at fifty... not knowing why.
Jack never liked learning, being in the classroom makes him feel overwhelmed, left out and a good for nothing. He is now doing a home schooling program. A little bit of learning, lots of playing... slow progress, but he feels relaxed, happy, proud. People really like this 'urchin' and chances are he'll get hired somewhere some day, and he'll grow into his job at his pace, making a living after all.
Davy likes painting more then anything else in the world. He is not good in English and abominably bad at geography and history. How easy would it be for his  teacher to say that he should do geography while the rest of the class is painting. Because Davy doesn't need to learn anything about that...he's a natural.   No, his teacher knows that Davy's eyes will shine energetically after half an hour of painting and that this good feeling it will help him battle his way through geography and history. And if Davy can learn more history through making a painting of a medieval castle, rather than writing a paper about it... the teacher will ask Davy to make that painting. Davy is allowed put his talent to use, he can stay in his 'power circle' and learn from there. It;s not likely he'll get a burn out at midlife. More likely he is a painter then, because his teacher taught him to believe in his own talent.

No comments:

Post a Comment