Lifelong Learning Programme

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Teachers Experiences

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No learning dissabilities
Georgia Panagiotopoulou
Primary School
Students with learning difficulties
Alexandros was (well still is) the shortest boy in the class. He is a blonde, very energetic child, with a great smile. Alexnandros was intially at the A1 class. I am teaching in A2 class; it is the same level but different classrooms. The teacher in A1 is a new one. I am quite more experienced as a teacher in this school.

I was hearing his teacher to complain that Alexandros does not let anyone to study in the classroom. One day he was dancing on the top of his desk, without any music :). After 4 months in A1, the school director informed me that Alexandros would be part of my class, since my colleague can not handle the situation any more.

Next day, Alexandros was in the classroom and the rest of the class was really annoyed just by knowing that he is going to be next to them. Alexandros was full of energy from the first hour till the noon. He used to jump around, speak loud and laugh all the time. Although, I thought that I could handle it, my daily school practise has been destroyed. And the whole situation had an influence with th erest of the classroom.
One day I had a discussion with his mother and I discovered that she was having any time for Alexandros at home, in order to play with him or study. So Alexandros had the chance to play only in school and he was always unprepared for the courses. His mother told me that she thought that her child had learning dissabilities but she will work with that later, due to lack of time.

I thought that this was the case. One day, I thought that I will try something different. I changed the seats of every child in the classroom and I left Alexandros at the same place, but changed the students next to him. I used two clever boys, quite cooperative during the class course and coming from well educated families. I was really worried that I would have a reaction from their families, but although they started a discussion for that with me, they did not have any argue, since they both wanted to check their boys (thank God). At the first three days, Alexandros used to throw their stuff, but the boys were not complaining. They used to keep on working with me in the classroom. Since Alexandros did not have someone to bother, he started to look at their classwork. I started to spend more time with him, by explaining further things that he was supposed to know. After 2 months, Alexandros was still "not the best student to have", but his performance started to improve and his attitude in the classroom was quite good.
His parents realised the fact that the boy needed some more attention. They tried to spend more time with him and now Alexandros is one of the rest of the class. No further investigation on learning dissabilities has been done so far.

Comments on this Teachers Experience

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Date: 2014.05.31

Posted by Marta Reina Pueyo (Spain)

Message: First I must admit that the story does not seem anything strange . Although it was mentioned by someone on the other side of the world. Humans have a clear need and this is the affection and attention .
I found it very strange that in half of course has changed the student class . I think in this case it was looking for the teacher and not the student benefits .
The story told seems to me that too easily resolved , since children with disruptive behavior is what matters most to them is to draw attention , and if they do not get a form and think any other way . In all cases , it is always best to ignore, buthow hard it is ! Honestly to me whenever I had a case , I get a shout another .
The problem that we are now in classrooms, is delicate. There are children ( my students are 4 years old ) who spend more time with me or with grandparents than with their parents . It is true that the economic situation nowadays makes you have to work long hours and work ( if you can ) the two partners . But I think this at a result that eventually the students will suffer in adulthood , which will be full of fears and traumas created in childhood or adolescent by the lack of presence of the parental figures .
The easiest thing sometimes is to label the behaviors of children and think they have medical problems , when in many cases with clear calls attention. We can see in this example , the mother has no time for tatar theme your child , so your child will think , behave as fatal 'm at school, so that at least my mother was interested by my behavior.
I do not know , to summarize a bit , it's a complicated issue , as I said before, I do not think that is resolved so easily. Although if I totally agree that a change in methodology often helps , but not solved. That change has to be in the family if the problem comes from there. Many times we want to solve in five hours does not solve other problems in 24 hours they are with them.
Always doing everything possible to help our students , I think we should be very aware that we arrived we arrived, the role of the family is FUNDAMENTAL

Date: 2014.05.30

Posted by Gabriela Adomnica (Romania)

Message: We all go through phases and changes and some deal with them better while some need some help. Our duty as teachers is to do our best, even though sometimes is seems like fighting on our own, relying only on our instincts and, why not, our talent. Congtatulations, Mrs. Georgia Panagiotopoulou!

Date: 2014.05.21

Posted by Christine CLOES (Belgium)

Message: Once more we can observe the importance to make the correct diagnostics when a pupil seems to have learning disabilities. Disruptive behaviours in the classroom often mask emotional needs that pupils are not able to express regarding their family, their friends or classmates. Teachers and school staffs have to imagine strategies to make the difference between learning disabilities and behavioural problems without gravity providing that these ones could be identified at the earliest!
This case also underlines the parents’ role in the process: a lot of testimonies from the partner countries reveal that the parents’ cooperation is indispensable to fight against the early school leaving phenomenon but unfortunately some parents are not able or willing to find a solution.

20 December 2014

Final Partners’ meeting

The fourth partners’ meeting took place in Florence (IT) on 15 December 2014. The meeting had the objective to check the activities carried out since the third meeting of the project and share and assess the in progress results. A special focus has been dedicated to the presentation of the strategies to solve the case scenarios.