Four Ways Teachers Hurt Students = Dyslexia and Other Incurable Physical Conditions
Do teachers hurt students on purpose? Never! Educators join the profession because they want to help children learn and grow up to be well-adjusted, happy, and healthy citizens of planet earth.
When teachers hurt students it is because they are missing knowledge and/or tools. Regarding these physical conditions, educators are not at fault because most of the knowledge is new. It is only within the past fifteen years that scientists have been able to "watch" brain activity through functional MRIs.
Teachers hurt students when they do not understand and accommodate:
3. Introverts and Extroverts
Awareness of color-blindness is centuries old, however now teachers can find simple online tests to determine at a young age which students are affected. In the following test, children without color-blindness will be able to see the numbers embedded within the pictures while color-blind students will not. You can find it at http://www.colorvisiontesting.com/ishihara, with links to the video format and the complete book of tests for purchase. Since color-related activities are frequent in early childhood education, teachers must give these tests at the earliest possible opportunity.
Students with dysgraphia have difficulties with handwriting and other fine motor skills such as tying shoes. It is neurological in origin and frequently accompanies dyslexia. Dysgraphia is also incurable, so accommodations are required from the beginning of school. Teachers must understand that all writing assignments are exhausting for these children and other means of communicating knowledge must be provided. Students are hurt when they are treated as lazy when their writing efforts fail.
Ground breaking work conducted by Jerome Kagan, an American psychologist and Research Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, introduced us to the physiological systems determining whether we are introverts or extroverts. Marti Olsen Laney, in her book, "The Introvert Advantage," shows evidence that introverts and extroverts process and retrieve information differently.
“The introverts’ blood flowed to the parts of the brain involved with internal experiences like remembering, solving problems, and planning. This pathway is long and complex. The introverts were attending to their internal thoughts and feelings.”
An extrovert's blood pathway is shorter and less complex. They are more apt to seek external stimuli and rewards. These traits are unrelated to intelligence, but explain that overall temperament is not a choice. The shy bookworm student is physically created that way. How do teachers hurt introverts? They do so by trying to force them to become extraverts. Activities like cooperative learning, arranging desks in groups, and loud busy environments hurt these children.
And finally there is dyslexia, that giant silent misunderstood state of being. Color-blindness and dysgraphia may be called disabilities, but being an introvert or a dyslexic is not a disability. When viewed holistically, they only determine that you are better at some activities than others. The way a dyslexic brain reads is different. A dyslexic's brain stores words as images, clearly not as neat and quick as reading via phonics. Dyslexia is misconstrued as a disability because useful reading begins later in life. True . . . that is inconvenient. But the dyslexic mind also sees the big picture, in creative and imaginative scapes, as other brains will not. There is nothing to cure with dyslexia.
Half of all our students have these brains. In the current system, most are not diagnosed. Some will not be diagnosed because a semblance of reading appears early enough. Other children will be identified as just plain stupid or lazy, a notion completely discredited in the work of Dr. John Gabrieli of MIT, http://news.mit.edu/2011/dyslexia-iq-0923.
These right-brained dyslexic students are the ones most hurt by teachers. They are misunderstood, neglected, ignored, chastised, inconvenient kids.
Teachers hurt dyslexic children because they mistakedly view them as objects they need to teach and fix. They think they are broken. Dyslexia only needs to be understood and accommodated, the same as color-blind, dysgraphic, and introverted students must be accommodated.
Let's teach teachers to understand and accommodate.
Note: Discussion is welcome, but I am also looking for comments and advice. Thanks!