Deductive reasoning would tell me that I, too, at this tender age, would probably have been diagnosed with a learning disability! I see nothing irregular or unbearable about this child. As a teacher, in fact, I consider it my duty to solve the initial puzzle of Learning Style. If a child in my studio fails to grasp a certain concept, and I find myself having to repeat it every month, I consider it failure on MY part to have communicated it to him in a manner clear to him. This is the way all parents should be with their children. They look to us for life, knowledge, and purpose. Life, we give them instinctively. For purpose, we point them to Christ. But knowledge, too, is in our hands, and we must sort it and shape it to fit into their minds! We embrace the thought that our children are individuals and cannot be "molded" to fit a standard, but then we expect them to mentally conform to a shabby, poorly-thought-out scholastic standard for the rest of their childhood and into adulthood. WHAT IS THAT?! If children are, indeed, unique individuals, then they also have Unique Individual Learning Styles.
I have a heavy burden on my heart right now for children labeled "LD." This is a trend that comes from a herd mentality wherein a child who does not glean the concept of "5 vowels: AEIOU" from a classroom dictation is considered "Disabled." Why would we not consider the TEACHER ill-equipped in explaining the concept? I mean, the teacher's had 25 years to get a good idea of what Vowels are, and should definitely be able to explain it to 25 kids. Additionally, she should be able to KNOW if a child's missed out on that concept. The child, on the other hand, has only been in this world for 6 years, and spent 3 of them just learning what the heck we were saying with all that English Jibberish Mumbling! Why, oh WHY would you blame it on the child????
Unfortunately, it's the POSITIVE results that work against us. In a room full of 25 children, it may be that 20 of them have already been exposed to the concept of "5 vowels: AEIOU." This could be from educational toys, casual explanatory conversation with parents, older siblings, or educational t.v. In the end, 20 children manage to convince the teacher by one way or another that they grasped the concept of Vowels. Perhaps even 2 of the remaining 5 accidentally "got it right" on the test. The teacher is busy, how would she notice? The remaining 3 children might not have ever heard this concept explained before, and do not understand the teacher's explanation (because of classroom disruption, possibly, or just "not paying attention" at the crucial moment---again, how would the teacher notice? She's busy with 24 other children.) These children become a minority, and are too few to use as evidence against the teacher (or the material) and they stick out like a sore thumb. The 20 who "understand" (by virtue of their grade) the concept of Vowels are "proof" that the teacher's explanation was good enough, and the materials are doing a fine job of keeping the State's Education Budget on track. They therefore conclude there is a learning disability on the part of the 3 children. What else is there to conclude? *sarcasm*
As I dig into this flawed thinking pattern, I begin to see towards the bottom of this is the erroneous belief that All Children Learn in the Same Manner--which I have already spoken about.
Returning to my little student, I am appalled at how no one in his life has ever questioned the material being used for him, or the manner in which his teacher introduces new concepts (what her learning style might be, and does it conflict with his), or even what supplemental material might be used to fill in the cracks in his learning! Much less have they ever checked his incorrect answers on his tests! There could just be a common mistake he's repeating.....or a basic concept he might be missing, which, if corrected, could solidify other information for him and bring his grades up eventually.
And about that........when I was being homeschooled there was no discussion of grades and no success measured in percentages. When tests were taken, only Perfection was acceptable as a "free pass" to just go out and play. If there was a wrong answer, we were to sit down, talk about what went wrong, and practice the application several times to make sure we wouldn't continue making that mistake.
Does this sound strict to you? To me, it just MAKES SENSE. If you are teaching concepts to a child, and you want him to actually take in the information and use it to further his life and knowledge, you darn well don't want him thinking that 80 out of 100 of those concepts is good enough to get by. What if "5 Vowels" is the 20 out of 100 that he gets wrong? How will that serve him when he's learning to read? Will you accept 80 % as a "good enough grade" and send him out to play? Grades only get you through the first 18-24 years of life! It's the perfectly-understood concepts that are going to make you rich, successful, satisfied, and fully-equipped to forge ahead into the rest of life!
*Whew* So, that is my tirade. I'm too incensed right now to go over this post and polish it up. I know most of you know me, and can fill in blanks I've left based on what you know about me. Let me know if I've made any gross errors, and I'll correct them. For now, I'd like to leave you with this Learning Styles test, good for getting to know your own style so you can better understand your children's.