Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Labels are for clothes, not people."

This is for a very dear friend of mine who sometimes stops by, and to tell her that regardless of what the counselor says, her child is just a intelligent and sensitive child, who is curious about things that don't interest others.

A month back, we got a report from the school counsellor. My second-grader couldn’t read, write, spell, compute or follow instructions; in short, he was leaning impaired and needed remedial education.

Yes, my second grader’s reading level was that of a kindergarten student, because of which he couldn’t write or spell either. But that’s all that is wrong with him- in fact, he’s way above his age in maths. A well-informed mother, I could challenge the counsellor and prove his assessment was worthless.

But how many others have been as lucky? How many kids have been labelled dumb, or worse.


Ravikala Baliga said...

It is really sad that people judge intelligence by the amount of marks scored, forgetting that children can also mug up things and produce on paper and score good marks. But is that really 'good marks'??!

Last year my son had a 'surprise' test which is informed only a day in advance. He did not tell me - first because he forgot about it and secondly - he thought if he told me (obviously true!), I would not allow him to go out to play and make him study.

His friend studied the entire evening for 3-4 hours and scored 5/10. My son studied for about 30min and scored 7.5/10. He came back and told me this proudly the next day.

Now how do we measure intelligence? By the number of hours you study or from the marks you score?!

Margot Kinberg said...

Natasha - Oh, I'm so glad you address this issue! A distressing number of kids are railroaded by the school system because they don't think like everyone else does. Doesn't matter of they're brilliant. It only matters if they are not identical to all other kids. It's soooo sad. That's why I always encourage parents to be active at the school and speak up if they see that happening to their child.

Natasha said...

@ Ravikala- you measure how much a child has learnt by how much he is able to understand and retain. You measure how smart a child is by how he reacts to social situations.
The current school system is clearly flawed- because it has no space for anyone who doesn't fit the mould. And yet, without those individual minds, how will mankind ever progress?
You have a gem in your house, treasure him.

@ Margot- I am glad you said so, because you are an educator yourself (not just a mother and grandmother). My son is not a product of the cookie cutter, but he is definitely not retarded either. If he needed help, I would be the first to ask for it, because much as it surprises the school system to hear me say it, I do want the best for my child. But, only if he needs it.


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