Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by becky, Apr 8, 2010.
Apr 11, 2010
And hugs upon hugs upon hugs, becky. This is an incredibly frustrating place to be.
I probably missed this, but why can't her dad do her math with her? It might be a nice bonding experience that will tie math to fond memories of spending time with dad. She might even grow to love math! Since the most important thing is mastering the skills, why not have dad right beside her? You know, too soon, she'll grow out of wanting him there ... but she'll always have the math skills she learned by his side.
Apr 12, 2010
For the record....
Becky, I wrote that post on my PAGER and it isn't the easiest to proof or go back and revise the language. It came straight from my heart and it isn't something I would have put so bluntly if I didn't already respect the hell out of you. I didn't say it because I find you lacking. I said it because I know how much heart and soul you pour into teaching Jeannie. You really have won my admiration and respect. My telling you these things as bluntly as I did is a direct reflection of that respect.
I'm with mmsm on this though. If a child shows stubbornness in one area, there is likely a reason for it.
I saw a video one time in a college class that has forever impacted how I view students' disruptions in class. Basically this presenter (Rick Lavorie) simulates an environment where a group of adults start presenting all these behaviors I have clearly seen in other kids. These are behaviors you see kids with learning disabilities or kids who are struggling with something. Educators miss the signs all the time because the behavior does not seem to be tied to the event but in reality children do a lot of what they do because they can't adequately communicate what it is that is bothering them or why they are frustrated. Most of the time it happens over time and the child is unaware of why they are doing it. Taking a proactive approach helps get to the root of it. You are already taking one by trying to find a solution.
P.S. I am not saying Jeannie is learning disabled, even in math. I am only telling you that these behaviors are common in kids who are struggling with something for reasons they themselves may not even be able to fully understand much less articulate.
You aren't going to turn into the HS mom you dread that does things the easy way by changing your approach in this one subject. Don't worry. You have too much ethic for that. The change does not have to be forever either. It's not an all or nothing situation.
Mmswm, I have a similar story. My oldest child was hitting brick walls with learning his numbers in kindergarten. He couldn't count to 25. He couldn't recognize all his numbers. No matter how much I tried to practice it (read: push it), he just couldn't and he started to just "rebel" about it. School was over and suddenly we were just a family in a grocery story or the kitchen. That summer he not only learned his numbers but could identify decimal points and learned all kinds of money related stuff and measurement stuff. He read flyers that came in the mail. He did all kinds of amazing things. There wasn't any pressure on him. When he started first grade, he was reading at the end of first grade. When he left kindergarten, he barely met the end of kindergarten goals. He was ready for math. Once he was ready for it, we were able to do traditional methods but I always remembered that I have to follow his lead as well because pushing it when he wasn't ready, produced the opposite effects. In middle school he has been in honors math for the past 3 years.
I've taught math for a LOT Of years. I can't tell you the number of kids I have who were apparently "never good at math"-- before.
I, of course, have no way of knowing that, especially with freshmen. They come from something like 40 different elementary schools, arrive in my classroom and I teach them. Some of those "never good at math-- before" kids rise to the top.
Now I could pass it off as magnificent teaching, but that's too simple (not to mention: it doesn't explain why some of their classmates still flounder.)
Sometimes all you need is a new voice with new expectations. I'm sure that I've explained some of those concepts using the exact same words as previous teachers, but with better success. Maybe it's about me, but maybe it's about the kid, for whatever reason, being more receptive to a new voice with new expectations.
So I agree, Becky, with some of the suggestions made thus far. Have someone-- just about anyone-- do math with Jeannie for a while. Trade with another HS mom, have her dad or brother or the next door neighbor work with her. The point is that it's a fresh start, with fresh expectations.
Brian started middle school this year. One of the things he loves about it is changing classes. He says that every 40 minutes, he gets a fresh start- a new voice, a new seat, different kids in the class.
Try letting Jeannie change classes and see if it helps.
First, she'll grow used to the help and continue to not want to work independently. If she honestly didn't understand the material, it would be a different story.
If the support from dad is what gets her through this, go with it...Don't anticipate what will happen later- just work with this set up with dad sitting with her for a while....then after some time (a few weeks?) dad can gradually exit - the first few days to get a cup of coffee and come back, then a little longer away, but always checking back with her...gradually extending his time away from her math work...and then when she is working independently, Dad and J should still have some time together-just away from the work.
Exactly. This is what 'scaffolding' is all about.
Right...I'm just encouraging Becky not to rule this out.
Today went well, especially considering our day was broken up with a field trip, a class, and an appointment.
I cut her math work and offered a reward if she started without complaint. She jumped on it and made no mistakes- just like I expected. We'll see how tomorrow goes.
What was the reward? Is this something you are willing to maintain?
I know, I'm agreeing with you. Sheesh. Are you sure we weren't married?
Apr 13, 2010
The idea of learned helplessness is a valid concern. I work wih a small number of students. It is something I have to consider often. My job is to teach independence skills even though itbis apparent that I am plenty available. It is something I had to stress upon my aide when she comes for literacy centers for 45 min in the mornng. Having said that, there ARE periodsbin the day where I offer more support to a child or to the class. It fanged throughout the year. I can't withhold the extra support in fear of over dependence. I can, however, evaluate he situation regularly to make sure I am providing adequate support while providing students with the opportunities to practice independence skills.
The same is true about rewards and other systems. I rarely apply blanket systems year to year. It is all about evaluating what children need from me while trying to balance teaching them life skills and self-reliance.
You bet it's a valid concern, and I think it's more of a concern with homeschooling. It's too easy to go the other way and help too much, to the point the child doesn't learn to think for themselves.
Absolutely sure...I was purposefully not using the term 'scaffolding' -just offering the 'steps' to do it...you know- throwing all the ideas out there and seeing what sticks.
But you could have used the term, czacza. I have heard of it.
Just was offering a way to make the 'dad set-up' work for you without getting too teacherly in my advice. There's a fine line one walks between offering advice/information to other educators and sounding pedantic.
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