TITLE OF THE EXPERIENCE
Wrong start, great ending
NAME AND SURNAME OF THE TEACHER
YEARS OF TEACHING EXPERIENCE
TYPE OF SCHOOL
Students with learning difficulties
DESCRIPTION OF THE EXPERIENCE
We bring into attention the example of an ex-student from Colegiul Național “Grigore Ghica” Dorohoi (2009-2013), which, initially, after the psychological evaluation from the beginning of his primary school, he is discouraged by the teacher that told his mother that her child, with a frail constitution, met the qualities of a mentally retarded person. His further evolution, not very great, allows him to complete his primary school as a mediocre student.
At the beginning of his secondary school years, the results of his initial tests are very weak to the dismay of his parents ( he gets 1.60 in maths). Realizing his situation, the student made progress constantly with the help of his parents and the guidance of his teachers, passing his final exam, at maths, with a grade the was over 9.
When he started high school, the student was very preoccupied about scientific subjects as maths and ICT, where he obtained prizes and awards in county, inter-district and national competitions. He proved real respect and admiration for his maths teacher, the one that was his class master too, the one that became a role model. He graduated from high school with great grades, he became a student of a well-known university form Iasi and his passion for maths helped him obtain the bronze medal at the National Olympics of Mathematics ,,Universitaria”. Due to this awards and results, the student received a study scholarship for his high school years and a merit scholarship in his college years. For his unbelievable results, the Ministry Of Education rewarded him with a trip in Europe, the first occasion the young man had to leave the country.
We believe this is a powerful example for how errors within the system (teacher's initial opinion) can be corrected later with tact and empathy, disregarding the prejudices submitted earlier. The child was framed in the section "Students with learning disabilities" just because he received the opinion of a less experienced teacher, which believed and used the appearances in the determination of the verdict. We’re no longer considering the struggle of his parents upon hearing this news. It is important, however, the amazing evolution of the young man, who ignored the destabilizing messages received from the school, finding worthy models in life to follow later (curiously, all in the system, but at another level, high school), which helped him to improve. This example is invoked within the hours of school counselling with students, to make them aware of the fact that an error can be repaired at any time if you are determined to revise it and work to prove yourself. Our success always depends on our choices.
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Posted by Nathalie RUELLE (Belgium)
Message: Unfortunately, nowadays we meet young people who are “broken” by the traditional education system, which often refers to an antique norm to classify them.
In our reschooling service called “l'Assise”, the “mental management” module helps us not only know educational difficulties but also better target the help the school can provide: working method, remediation, etc.
Example: we sometimes face dyscalculia, should we therefore think the student is unable to pursue studies?
With as much gentleness as possible, we try to change people’s conceptions so that all young people have equal chances of success despite difficulties. Often teachers label students as lazy after poor results during assessments.
After a visit (tests) in “mental management”, and when we detect problems such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, etc., and going back to the teacher, the latter views the student in a different light, which improves, most of the times, greatly the relations and results.
Posted by MICHELA RAMACCIOTTI (POLO BIANCIARDI - GROSSETO – PROFESSIONAL INSTITUTE FOR COMMERCIAL SERVICES – TECHNICAL GRAPHIC INSTITUTE – HIGH SCHOOL SPECIALIZING IN ART STUDIES – HIGH SCHOOL SPECIALIZING IN MUSICAL STUDIES COUNTRY: ITALY)
Message: The experience described by the Romanian colleagues really hit home with me: I taught High School Math for 14 years, and for the past eight years, I have been a support teacher for scientific subjects. Therefore, I have had the opportunity to personally, experience the difficulty students often have with this subject.
In relation to this beautiful story, I would like to propose some points for reflection.
As evidenced in the narrative, the first regards the emotional/motivational aspect connected to the subject matter.
Mathematics, unlike many other disciplines, such as, for example, national or foreign languages has, as its sole transmission channel, the teacher who teaches it. Traditional "cultural" mediators for children and adolescents, such as television, music, video games, etc. do not teach Math skills. In fact, the knowledge of this particular subject may be poorly enriched by the network of learning methodologies, which represents an integral part of the experiential knowledge and skills of our students. Therefore, the point made by the authors of this experience, regarding how an initial negative impact may provoke a negative “personification” of Math for future years may be valid. Oftentimes, students with terrible experiences in this discipline tend to identify the subject matter with the teacher and are unable to separate the problems encountered in the discipline from the teacher doing the teaching.
When considering this argument, Math has always been perceived by both students and families (and in some cases, unfortunately, also by school operators) as the principle indicator of intelligence itself. Based on that consideration, it is unnecessary to emphasize how emotionally debilitating a lack of success could prove to be, especially when one does not have adequate psychological defense mechanisms to deal with such difficulties.
In the last analysis, I would like to focus on the importance of the awareness of one’s own potential, oftentimes lacking in our apparently more fragile students. In this way, the role of the “teacher” or “authority” is fundamental and serves to encourage the student to consider the error made as a moment of growth. Teachers who use the instrument of moral gratification (and also material!) offer valid tools for the promotion of success training.
I would like to conclude by observing that in the second phase of this story, all the components that contribute to a constructive training ratio (teaching / learning, family support, conscious study of the boy) found the perfect balance for a happy ending, and without a doubt a good start for the future life of the Romanian student!
Posted by Ilias Gouvelis (Greece)
Message: The experience of a teacher is very important.
The teacher had to ask for help from other more experienced teachers.
Cause of these situations the educational system has to "examine" intensively the educational background of every teacher.