Write a post based on the contrast between two things — whether people, objects, emotions, places, or something else.
AGH! This is the challenge for today – and the twist is to write it as dialogue. I have come to the sad conclusion that I must have no imagination since I have been thinking about this all afternoon, looking for things to write about. Life and death came to mind, and then the remark of one of my friends popped into my head “Not another bloody story with Death as the narrator, I can’t stand it!”. I was horrified as she was describing “The Book Thief”, one of the most moving books I have read recently so…. no, not life and death and besides during my musings I came to the conclusion that life and death have a remarkable number of similarities – I suppose that could go into the compare part. Anyway, I digress.. must get on with the challenge in hand!
I just explained to Simon my problem with writing this blog as he spotted me nipping back to my emails and onto facebook!
“Well, you could use me” he said. He gave me an idea but it still doesn’t entirely fulfil the brief – just can’t do the dialogue thing but here is my comparison and contrast between the Arrowsmith programme and other programmes for children with learning difficulties.
Take a student with learning difficulties, put them in an inspiring environment, give them an individual programme (at which they have to work extremely hard) which gives them the means to overcome their learning difficulties, give them specific exercises which stimulate neuronal growth (based on the science of neuroplasticity), give them the encouragement, emotional and psychological support they need to get them through the difficult patches, give them the knowledge that the gains they make are because of their own hard work, give them the confidence to tackle difficult tasks and you will see growth and this is what it looks like:
a sparkle in their eyes, a belief in their dreams, a skip in their step, a confidence in their voice, more choice to do what they want, more ability to state what they want, or don’t want, more freedom to be who they want.
Take a student with learning difficulties, put them in a hostile environment, try to compensate for those difficulties but don’t resolve the difficulties (albeit sometimes with the best intentions) taunt them, bully them, lower their self esteem and this is what it looks like:
head down, no eye contact, no belief in themselves, no hope fortheir future, a greatly increased risk of mental health issues, health issues, relationship difficulties, greater risk of unemployment,
The question remains when will there be a paradigm shift in conventional education to allow for the fact that the brain can be changed, that neuroplasticity has a place in education and that learning difficulties can be overcome not simply accommodated.
Sorry, I really couldn’t do dialogue – I will have to work on that! As for the rest of my day, it was bittersweet, a lovely walk with the Parent’s Walking Group through the wild flowers at the Trent University Nature Reserve, the last walk with two of our special Aussie friends as they head homewards, their time at Arrowsmith coming to an end all to quickly. Then onto a leaving party at Carpe Diem, sitting outside under the trees, such a beautiful spot where we spend our very first night in Peterborough with some of the same friends who will soon be leaving – all too sad! I have to keep reminding myself “Don’t be sad it’s over, be happy that it’s been”.