Sometimes I sit in front of the computer and I despair! That’s because it’s taken me ages to work out how to do something in Word and I’ve forgotten it and have to go through the whole learning process again. The frustration is incredibly intense. I’d learnt the procedure – so I thought, I want to learn how to word process properly, I want to be competent in the way other people are, I’m trying as hard as I can. But I can’t seem to hold the skill in my mind long enough to be able to use it again next time. Frustration is an understatement!
This is how it must be for dyslexic children who cannot read and remember. The pain of trying, of not being able to acquire a skill everyone else seems to find so simple, the pain of seeing those symbols dance around on the page and the interpretation of them dance around in your brain must surpass anything I’ve described here about not being able to word process. Because I’m not dyslexic. Here I’m doing it in private, here I’m not being judged, here I have no one breathing down my neck making me feel stupid, here I have no one saying I should be able to do this by now. And here I have no one suggesting it’s my fault as if assigning blame is of any help whatsoever. These are all the things that happen to children in schools if they cannot read.
I have no one putting me through all the intense suffering described in the comments on the blog ‘Don’t call Me Stupid’ by people who are dyslexic. (See here:
https://rossmountney.wordpress.com/2010/11/12/dont-call-me-stupid/#comments and on more recent blogs)
It strikes me that every teacher or member of staff working in schools should be put back into the learning situation themselves like I am with the computer. Should keep in touch with what it feels like to learn, what it feels like to not know something, what it feels like to be made to feel stupid as a result. Maybe then we wouldn’t have the damage done to children that has been described.
What is so bizarre about the attitude of some teachers towards children who cannot read easily is that they seem to assume the children don’t want to. But that’s crazy.
Nearly all children want to read because they want to do what adults do, they want to please adults, they want to keep up with their peers, they want access to the adult world and know reading is part of it, they want people to think good of them. Yet many teachers seem to forget that and make all kinds of dire accusations about kids not trying or not concentrating or not caring. Not to mention being thick, as we’ve heard from the comments. The longer it goes on, the further the child falls behind, the worse the accusations get. And, as is upheld in the stories in my blogs, the damage can last almost a lifetime.
I would like staff working in schools, and politicians, to stop abdicating their responsibility for the learning of the children in their care by putting the blame onto the kids, and start looking at their own practises and provision and how these are failing to enable children to learn well.
And they also need to keep in touch with what it’s like not to be able to grasp something you want to be able to do. And see what it feels like to be called stupid.
Maybe then we would have teachers with more empathy and understanding of how horrible it feels if you cannot do what others do. And we would have provision that is more in line with the fact that when children are young they want to learn. It is some of the schools and teachers who in the end put them off to the point of making them fail.