Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This material reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein

Also available in:

Teachers Experiences

Homepage > Database > Teachers Experiences

There is always a happy end
Gerasimos Giafis
Secondary School
Students with learning difficulties
Dimitra had a very problematic background history. She came school with a psychiatric report accompanied the referral and detailed seriously risky behaviours, including walking along a motorway and jumping in front of cars. She was the youngest of six children, having four older brothers and one older sister. As a child, Dimitra initially attended a mainstream school for six months, but soon after she was moved to a school for children with learning disabilities. Her parents separated early in her childhood. She did not know her father well and lost contact with him from an early age. She was brought up by her mother and they were close.

She was also admitted to hospital under the Mental Health Act where she spent a couple of months there. There then followed various similar admissions and many recorded incidents of absconding and threats of suicide.

Dimitra had a moderate learning disability. She did not read, but could copy letters and spell words with sufficient levels of support. We had to acquire a special teacher and a scichologist to support her during her studies in the school. The whole school community wanted to give full support to her, since she was a very nice person coming from a very difficult situation.

Dimitra had a total of 24 sessions over 8 months, with one follow-up session after a break of 6 weeks. At the end, Dimitra seemed to overtake any personal problems and work together with her classroom teacher as a normal kid. She was participating in school acts and she managed to graduate with a proper rank.

Comments on this Teachers Experience

In order to post a comment it is compulsory to be logged in.

Date: 2014.08.18

Posted by Mustafa Bayrakci (Turkey)

Message: I am certain that she had difficulty because her parents were seperated, she had financial problems and genetic inheritence. This gives us the image that they all caused a pshychological disorder in her. We all know that the parents’ act of divorcing results in many problems in their children in most times. Those problems can cause the children whose parents are seperated to drop out the school. Therefore, she needs to be supervised by a psychiatrist or psychologist or at least school counseller so that she can get rid of her problems and she can sustain her academic success. Teachers can also help their such kind of students to solve their problems by communicating with them or discussing their problems with them face to face. I believe that it is their duty. They should do whatever they can do. But we shouldn’t expect them as experts. But if they are conscious of their students with those problems, they can contribute so much in the phase of solving those problems. I think all they need to do is to supervise the children carefully. And then they can suggest great solutions to their students in accordance with their problems and the supervision they make. This great help by teachers can save a student’s whole academic life. These students can believe that they have somebody they can trust and communicate freely. There should be also a cooperation between the teacher and the parents. The teacher who communicate with the pupil’s parents can produce much better solutions and they can also help the parents to find solutions for dealing with the problem at home. The student whose problems are lessened by not only his/her teacher, but also by his/her parents can improve his/her studies. They can have more encouragement and motivation to study. Under these circumstances can they handle every sort of problem and situation. On the other hand, we should keep in mind that but for parental and professional help for the student’s problems, they may not be always a happy end.

Date: 2014.06.02

Posted by Ana Amo (Spain)

Message: Dimitra's case was to treat it, as they did, especially education. Sure that his attitude was related to the separation of their parents, economic deprivation and genetic inheritance. This prompted a psychological picture as presented. Generally parental separation usually affect the education of children. For my classes have been several cases of school failure motivated by this problem although not as extreme as that recounts the writing.
  These require the intervention of a psychiatrist or psychologist. The teachers are not specialists but we do what we can, nor is our function.
Unfortunately there is not always a happy ending.

Date: 2014.06.01

Posted by Rosario Alamillo (Spain)

Message: The cases I have seen are perfectly extrapolated to Spain . Mary was a student of five years of my rural school. I met six days after beginning the course , as the first days of class girls, getting off the bus that took them to school , stayed behind in the countryside surrounding the school and there waited five hours to that . Again gathered for the bus to return home. When some companions showed me what was happening, I interviewed his mother to inform her . And this , he began to defend his daughter assuring that he had no problem behavior . Mary, under my care , began attending the class and there I saw that something strange was happening . Was not related to his companions, and their behavior and reactions were not normal . I met again with his mother that on this occasion he told me that the girl had mental health problems and that the father refused to administer the medication. The father got to see reason and eventually Mary gave a dramatic change coming to enjoy school.

Date: 2014.05.21

Posted by Christine CLOES (Belgium)

Message: The title of the story seems to be rather optimistic! I think solutions exist for each type of situation but it is not sure that the solution will be found despite the efforts and the willingness of all stakeholders.
The problems of the pupil Dimitra were really serious: the support of special teacher and psychologist contributed to solve the situation. I would like to know if this kind of support is provided by the school system or if it depends on the willingness of each school and on its own resources. In Belgium for example there are special centres bringing psychological, medical and social support to the pupils with learning difficulties. Each school (primary or secondary school) collaborates with such a centre in the local area.

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.