Sunday, June 14, 2009

Retardanr Reasoning 6/14/09

It is for want of application, rather than of means, that men fail to succeed.


Below is a list of 13 (your lucky number) 13 elements. Your mission is to tell me how many of them are phony names and which ones they are. Cheat if you have to, and then live with the shame.

7 guessers so far.
2 winners.

1. Americium
2. Californium
3. Canadium
4. Einsteinium
5. Europium
6. Hafnium
7. Lawrencium
8. Newtonium
9. Nobelium
10. Palladium
11. Roentgenium
12. Ruthenium
13. Seaborgium

Good luckium.
Results will be posted at 9 pm EST Sunday evening.
"There's place and means for every man alive" wrote Shakespeare.

I was speaking with a woman this week who told me that her grandson was diagnosed by his teacher as probably having Attention Deficit Disorder. The boy is in second grade at the local elementary school. His mother knows that it isn't true because when he is home and has a project he applies himself to it with great interest, patience and rigor. The mother explained that to the teacher. The teacher was unimpressed. She just maintained that boy was fidgety and disruptive. When? asked the mother. Whenever a test is given. Does he finish the test? Yes, he finishes it quickly and then after a while he acts up and disturbs the other students. Are the other students still taking the test? Yes. Does my son always finish the test before the others? Yes. Well, then he gets bored. Give him more to do.

So the teacher prepared some material to occupy the boy along with the test. Behold. No more attention deficit.

The boy is obviously brighter than the other students. Why should he have to sit around waiting for them to catch up?

This cookie cutter idea of education, that all students are alike and should be treated that way, especially on the elementary school level, is a waste and an injustice. It goes without saying that there isn't enough money spent on education in this country, or, at least it isn't always spent wisely. And as a result adaptations have to be made. And it's also true that most kids survive and go on the get educated. But is that an excuse for maintaining a system of categorizing children and not being sensitive to their special needs?

I don't consider myself more intelligent than any one else, but I resent to this day some of things I had to suffer during my elementary school years. I was different, not odd, not strange, just different. I didn't fit the mould. I was laughed at by my 4th grade teacher for some of my likes and ideas. I was called ridiculous by my 5th grade teacher because I said I wanted to go to the moon. And I was called a liar in front of the whole class by my 6th grade teacher because I said I liked to watch the UN on TV. I didn't fit into the cookie cutter and there were a few other kids in my class that didn't either. Wounds were made and scars remain.

We must help those who are behind without holding back those who are ahead. Nobody said it was easy. But the means are there, they just have to be applied.

The teacher of the boy mentioned had the means as it turned out, but she took the easy route of categorizing him as deficient. Why? Because he didn't fit in the mould. It's probably not the teacher's fault.

What education means in this country needs to be rethought. The value of a nation is not in money. It's measured in cultural and intellectual worth. A nation, like this one, which produces more lawyers than scientists, is heading in the wrong direction.

It can always be better. There is always something more to do.

Vagabond Journeys
As you travel on through life
Whatever be your goal
Keep you eye upon the donut
And not upon the hole.

(Sorry, I couldn't resist that.)


a corgi said...

I'm glad the mother of this little boy didn't buy into the fact that he could be "attention deficit" and put him on medication instead of trying to figure out why he was "attention deficit" (which in my opinion he truly was not attention deficit, just needed more of a challenge)

I think sometimes kids are like square pegs trying to fit into round holes. If they don't fit in the norm, they are ridiculed or overlooked. One size does not fit all when it comes to education and I think teachers need to be aware of that concept and strive to help all kids reach their full potential no matter what their learning style might be.


salemslot9 said...

I agree with you & Betty

Beth said...

Tell it, brother!

I'm so sorry you had to deal with such dismissive teachers when you were in school; I hope you had some that were excellent and inspiring along the way, too. I feel so fortunate in that I had great teachers who were willing to go a little further with me. In sixth grade, three of us in my class were asked if we wanted to be in a special reading group. Mrs. Keel worked with us a little more and challenged us to read more advanced books. Bless her! Too many kids don't get that attention now because teachers don't have the extra time due to heavy class loads, or it might hurt the other kids' feelings to not be in such a group. (!!!) I find that terribly sad and something we need to address as a country. Love, Beth

Gerry said...

What has always alarmed me about what passed for education where I grew up gradually became so limited that people kept having to adjust and give up more freedom t think for themselves. When education begins to resemble a jail cell you know it is not valuable any more. It has become like some of the tasteless food we eat, so processed that there is nothing appealing about it. The very life has been leached out of it. And then people become alarmed when the young students rebell. There would be more wrong with them if they didn't. More of what is rightfully called brain washing in hopes of keeping children subdued. Gerry

Cathy said...

Y'know it's not even education is it. More like indoctrination. And children are being "dumbed-down" like crazy. I think a unique gifted child had a better chance of being recognized and nourished back in the 50s when kids were pulled along instead of stopped, labeled and categorized. At least they didn't have to live down to some alphabet disorder - once you tag a young mind, don't be surprised if they give you exactly what you expect, which of course, is inattention and boredom. Such a waste.