Posts Tagged ‘Autism spectrum’

Education New Year’s Resolutions 2020

January 1, 2020

 

Below are some New Year’s resolutions I suggest the broader Education sector should take on for 2020 based on an article I wrote a few years ago:

1. Schools Should Become More Involved With Cyberbullying –  At present many schools have opted to turn a blind-eye to cyberbullying.  As the offence occurs out of school hours, a growing number of schools have been only too happy to handball the problem to the parents of the bully. Whilst I believe that parents are ultimately responsible for the actions of their children, I ask that schools do more to help deal with this ongoing problem.

The reason why I feel schools should involve themselves more actively with this issue is that most cyberbullying cases result from pre-existing schoolyard bullying.  Having started in the playground and classroom, the bullying then gets transferred online. Whilst the school isn’t liable for what goes on after school, the problem is often a result of what started during school hours.

To me, the best schools are the ones that work with the parents in a partnership for the wellbeing of their students.  For a school to excel it needs to show that it cares about its students beyond its working hours. That is why a teacher or staff member that is aware of cyberbullying must be able to do more than discuss the issue with the class.  They must be able to contact parents, impose sanctions and actively change the situation at hand.

2. Schools Should Address Mental Health Issues from a Young Age – Youth suicide has become an epidemic, and now that we are more familiar with the problem, schools should make children aware of the pressures they may face before facing them. They should be made aware of the options they may encounter should they fall on hard times, and the places they can go to discuss issues affecting them. Some will argue that teaching children about depression makes them more likely to become depressed. “Don’t give them ideas,” they may say. Well, those people clearly haven’t lost someone to suicide.

3. Schools Should Teach Climate Change Very Differently – This is loosely connected to the previous point. It is quite apparent that a growing percentage of children are feeling extremely anxious about predictions concerning our planet. This is harming our kids. I would like to see climate change taught as an opportunity to motivate children to make good personal decisions and inspire them to lessen their own carbon footprint. I don’t think it’s helpful to have them lie awake at night fearful about what politicians are doing or failing to do. Just like we would never teach young impressionable children about the dangers caused by regularly consuming the treats in their own lunchboxes, I don’t think it’s helpful to make them fearful about what a Government’s environmental policies.

4. It’s Time To Stop Blaming Teachers For Everything – Education is supposed to be a team effort.  All parts of the system are supposed to work with each other and for each other.  Yet, it always seems to be that the teachers get singled out for blame.  Poor testing results – blame the teachers, a bullying problem – blame the teachers, lack of classroom control – yep, let’s blame the teachers for that too.

The question has to be asked: At what point do we focus our attention on the administrators when handing out the blame? It seems to me that whilst there is always going to be poor teachers in the system, nowhere near enough focus is directed to policymakers as well as those in management positions and on school counsels.

5. More support for kids floundering in the classroom – Differentiation is an essential practice in a modern classroom, but it doesn’t completely address the issues at hand. When a child is 3 class levels below their peers, what does one do? If the school can’t get funding for that child, what then? The same goes for children on the spectrum. They require a more controlled and traditional classroom set-up. The new, more chaotic and interactional style of teaching and learning doesn’t seem to be doing them wonders. How does a teacher give them what they need without stifling other learners who are embracing group learning and creative and engaging lesson planning? These issues need to be dealt with to support teachers.

 

I must stress that these resolutions don’t necessarily apply to my own workplace, but from what I am discovering, are very big issues that should be considered over the course of the year.

 

Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Primary School Teacher Catches Herself in the Act (Video)

February 27, 2014

 

I always appreciate it when a school community comes to the defense of a disgraced teacher.

It is important for us to understand that good teachers often make bad mistakes, just like good stockbrokers and company executives do. But bad mistakes in every sphere often leads to a termination of contract, no matter how much that person was regarded or liked.

Here, we have a odd case of a teacher filming herself taunting an autistic child who is stuck in a chair. This would have to be one of the most bizarre ways of getting caught being completely unprofessional:

A PRIMARY school teacher who used her mobile phone to record a 10-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome as he struggled to free himself from a chair may be fired.

Nicole McVey, who teaches the fifth grade at Oaktree Elementary School in Goodrich, Michigan, is heard mocking the youngster, asking him, “Wanna be tasered?”

Even the school principal Michael Ellis gets in on the act, telling the child: “It’s not really an emergency in their book,” after Ms McVey states that maintenance is on the way.

According to the New York Daily News, Ms McVey then emailed the incriminating video to school colleagues — presumably thinking they would find it funny — who forwarded it to school administrators.

Mr Ellis has since resigned and there are now calls for Ms McVey to be sacked. But the teacher still has the support of some parents and the incident has divided the local community.

“You hear of bullying by other students and other kids in class … but I have never had a case with teachers and administrators bullying,” the boy’s family lawyer, Patrick Greenfelder, told the New York Daily News.

Mr Greenfelder also revealed the family may take civil action against the school.

Goodrich School Board Superintendent Scott Bogner told ABC 12 that an investigation into the incident was under way.

 

Click on the link to read An Example of Teacher Sanctioned Torture at its Worst

Click on the link to read What if she were a Man?

Click on the link to read Teacher Allegedly Published the Grades of her Students by Writing on their Foreheads

Click on the link to read You Can’t Foster Tolerance With Racist Teachers

Click on the link to read The Teacher that Defended Hitler and Child Abuse and Advocated Porn

 

 

The Cheapening of Real Conditions

July 10, 2012

I know of people who struggle with debilitating depression. It is a complex illness, with many different triggers and dimensions. I imagine that it must frustrate people suffering from depression to read articles like this one:

Violence aired on TV round the clock is causing depression, anxiety and post-traumatic disorder amongst children, according to a senior psychiatrist at the Ziauddin Hospital, Dr Syed Ali Wasif.

 “A child or any other individual who is abruptly exposed to the sound of a cracker or breaking news on a TV channel goes through fear, anxiety, uncertainty and hopelessness,” Dr Wasif told The News on Tuesday.

 “The child can develop depression and post-traumatic disorder. It also affects their educational productivity,” he said.

Are you telling me news is a trigger for depression? How would people suffering from this complex condition feel about that assertion?

The same goes with autism. With the autism spectrum seemingly widening every day, now including cases of such slight autism you wouldn’t be able to detect it if you weren’t alerted to the diagnosis, I feel for those with clear autism. Why should they be pigeonholed with others who have a dramatically easier quality of life and functionality?

If “the sound of a cracker” really is enough to send a child into clinical depression I’ll eat my shoe.

Click on the link to read Schools Have to Wake Up to Confidence Issues Amongst Students

Click on the link to read, Stricken with Self-Doubt


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