When older students Simply. Can't. Read.

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Backroads, Apr 14, 2017.

  1. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Apr 18, 2017

    My school has an extended school day and is about one hour longer than other schools in the district. We also have a two-hour optional after-school program, where one hour focuses on academics and the other focuses on social skills. We have three other application-based after-school programs that focus on college readiness. These programs and our other wraparound services have been pretty successful for our students.

    My school is classified as "extreme poverty". What I see is that many of my students have families who care deeply but lack the time, money, and in some cases skill to provide a lot of support for their kids at home. Their kids still need and deserve support at school. Schools don't exist so that we can have a job. Schools exist so that kids can learn. If they aren't learning, then what are we doing here?
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2017
  2. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    Apr 18, 2017

    She specifically said she didn't mean longer school days.
     
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  3. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Apr 18, 2017

    Right, but to me there's a difference between longer school days (provided by teachers in the classroom) and after school programs. Like Caesar's school, some schools tack on an extra hour of regular instruction to the school day when an entire student population is struggling or lower income. I don't think that's going to be as effective as having specific students staying after school to get help in an after school tutoring program.
     
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  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Apr 18, 2017

    I know this is bordering on contentious, but I am so grateful for this discussion! It's giving me new ideas and helping me filter old frustrations.
     
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  5. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Companion

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    Apr 18, 2017

    Flashbacks to first grade. My school had given up phonics beyond the letter people and went with whole language, which didn't end well. They ended up bringing in my mother for push-in instruction because she had extensive reading teaching experience. I read that and could hear my mother repeating, "When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking," to explain words like steal or plain.

    The ESL/ELL set especially need phonics instruction for English. When I was scoring ESL placement tests, it was evident that the kids were spelling words based on the phonics of their mother tongue. I frequently saw "I" used for "ee", "u" for "oo" and B/V confusion. I imagine they were trying to read English with foreign phonics as well because that's what many anglophone students do with foreign languages at the beginning. I still get a chuckle out of, "Il fait froid," being pronounced as "Il fait Freud," in 6th grade French. "Il neige parce que il fait Freud." o_O
     
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  6. Obadiah

    Obadiah Habitué

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    Apr 19, 2017

    Yes, very good point! In fact, I was discussing (orally) your posts with another person just yesterday evening; we were discussing how important it is to share and listen to all the viewpoints and opinions in this matter. I agree with EdEd too, that the situation is complex and multifaceted.

    In most studies research must narrow down the investigation to specific areas of study. Although this maintains the accuracy of the research it also ignores other pertinent factors influencing the outcome.

    A common theme in everyone's posts so far is that although finding causation is important, more important is intervention, which leads us back to the beginning. How do we intervene? Is it possible to intervene? a2z, I agree with you, yes it is possible. We don't give up just because the situation is difficult. We are teachers and teachers find ways to solve problems. Teachers are like Captain Kirk on the Starship Enterprise, we "boldly go where no one has gone before."
     
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  7. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Apr 19, 2017

    Agreed. Intervention is the most pressing issue unless we somehow are granted access to a time machine to research and correct the causes.
     
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  8. bella84

    bella84 Fanatic

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    Apr 19, 2017

    I think the issue is that schools are not equipped to offer proper interventions with fidelity. "Interventions" are often offered, but they are generally the same program for everyone, despite students having different needs. School schedules and disagreements over when students can and should be pulled out of a room lead to students receiving an intervention but not necessarily for the amount of time needed. Students are often grouped together by grade level (because it's easiest on the schedule) rather than by skill need or reading level. There are so many high-quality intervention programs that have been proven effective, but it's rare that those programs are actually implemented with fidelity in a public school setting.

    This is all true in both general education and special education. Having a student tested for a learning disability only works to formally identify the problem. It does nothing to actually remedy it. Getting a student into special education will never solve the problem is the intervention programs are not being implemented with fidelity in the special education setting... and they rarely can be, because the special education teachers are forced to fit in vastly different students with vastly different needs into a small window of time. The same is true with tier 2 interventions. It's a problem that I've seen in every school I've worked in (now on school number four). We all say we provide interventions, but the truth is that hardly any school is implementing those interventions the way that the research has proven them to be effective. So, we just say that we're doing the best that we can and that the student is making progress. Then we just pass them along until they become someone else's problem, and we forget about them. Until there is money to hire the staff needed to implement programs with proper groupings and time allotments, and until we can come to terms with it being okay for students to miss certain things in the classroom because being able to read comes first, we'll continue to have this problem.
     
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  9. rpan

    rpan Comrade

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    Apr 20, 2017

    I'm a science teacher and I had a Year 8 student who could not read and write in English yet had been passed up through the years. It's not the kid's fault, he was bright as a button, if only lessons were conducted in his language. He was in a mainstream classroom and I spent a lot of extra time with the kid at recess and lunch going through one concept multiple times over multiple days, speaking slowly and explaining things in the simplest terms possible. I also did verbal assessments with him, gave him lots of additional time, modified notes so that it was picture heavy rather than word heavy etc. I found out his interests and used those to explain things to him so he could relate. At the end of the year he passed!
    It was one of my proudest moments as a teacher - watching his eyes literally light up when he finally understood something and could explain it back to me in a smattering of English.
    But there are many more students like him, I'm not sure if there is a solution or ever enough money to fix this. It feels like we just have to do our best, within our time and abilities, do what we can to try to make the best out of it. Frustrating and exhausting.
     
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  10. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    Apr 20, 2017

    This is another aspect to that question. I would assume that if they're in high school and still can't read, something's wrong. Is an IEP really the end-all?
     

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