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Old 01.07.2016, 08:20
chrissie7 chrissie7 is offline
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Re: ADHD and Swiss schools

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If every student who didn't "fit" into the mainstream - the ones with ADHD, ADD, Aspergers, autism, ODD, hearing/vision impairment, physical disabilities, three generations of illiteracy in one family, severe brain damage, Tourettes, epilepsy, dyslexia, the fact that they arrived in the country the week before and don't speak the language, the violent ones, the traumatised ones, the apathetic ones, the ones suffering all manner of abuse, the ones who are just having a bloody awful time of it and are acting up because someone they love is dying or recently dead - were removed to make life easier, then a lot of classrooms would be pretty empty. Mind you, by your reasoning, the "normal" ones would have a jolly time of it and their teachers could bugger off home at half-past three.


The slower ones, as you put it, don't sink, that's what differentiation is for. The G&T ones are stretched too. Lots of schools stream their brightest and ones most in need of support. Some schools stream all classes. Some schools choose to teach only mixed classes. There are fiercely debated arguments for all approaches.


There aren't many special schools - because that's what you mean, right? - in the UK anymore because funding was slashed. And slashed again and many minds, brighter than me, decided it's beneficial for kids not to feel excluded and somehow "less" than others, because they're not.


So we're trained on a fairly ad-hoc basis because we often we don’t know what we’ll need to know next; the memo about little Janie’s anxiety disorder takes a while to arrive and you only find out about Frankie’s violent tendencies when you unwittingly get between him and the door. Similarly, after three terms, no-one quite knows how exactly to get Jamie to sit down and work independently so you deal with him sort of satellite-ing his way around the room and are very pleased when he writes with a biro and not a green Sharpie. And we do the very best we can with the hand we are dealt and we are not allowed to refuse to teach any child. It’s not Nirvana. Or Hogwarts. Or Mallory Towers. And our TAs are priceless.


In my home town of around 110000 people there are easily 15 secondary schools that are within the broader catchment area, not to mention all the feeder primaries. There is precisely one "Special" school and a handful of PRU's. The school is oversubscribed and underfunded. The staff are amazing and the waiting list is ridiculous. The schools geographically closest were then tasked with taking the over flow - with retraining, recruiting and training more staff to cope with the demands. And we adapt and liaise and read reports and try various strategies and different ones again and meet with parents and colleagues and support workers and, and, and. It’s a miracle we get any “real” teaching done at all. You know, the stuff we’re “trained” to do.


Some days the facts and the skills of it have to take a back seat. Some days, that isn’t the most important part of the job by any stretch of the imagination.


Teaching is not just about standing in front of a class and telling them things they need to remember for an exam. Teachers have to be experts at spotting the kids who can’t cope for whatever reason and then helping them to find a way. We have to “work” a crowd, every day. That seems fairly socio-and psycho-logical to me. But then again, what do I know? I’m just a teacher.


That's exactly what I mean: these specialist schools have been closed through underfunding and a wrongheaded policy that says giving children proper help is discriminatory. The needs of the child are ignored in favour of a political doctrine. The result is children who cannot cope forced into mainstream schooling and teachers forced to deal with all sorts of issues that they are ill-equipped to handle.
If you read your reply again from the perspective of an outsider, you'll see how awful the system sounds.
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