In addition to the problems of bullying, ill-advised behavior, or chronic illness, poor grades might be a concern. And it might not be the child’s ‘fault.’ Other concerns for considering an alternative education for a child is that he has an ‘intelligence’ other than the visual-linguistic style, the style that fits the mass-school situation best. Perhaps the child is a ‘late bloomer’ struggling to keep up, or an ‘early bloomer’ who is bored.
Research into learning has disclosed that not everyone learns in the same way. Some of us learn best by reading, some by hearing, some by doing. It is difficult for a school whose task is to serve all children to individualize instruction so that the needs of each child are met. Common schools must cater to the common good. If your child is outside the group whose styles are most easily met, then your child may struggle to take in the information that the teacher and the materials are dispensing.
A teacher with 30 students will theoretically give 1/30th of her time to each student for individual attention, but will each student either require or receive that 1/30th? Will the best students receive more attention or will they be assumed to be able to ‘do it themselves?’ Will the poorest students receive the most attention? Or will they be told, as has happened, that they are taking up more of the teacher’s time than the student is entitled to? And if the best and worst students are requiring the most time, where does that leave the students who are doing well enough but don’t have star potential? Good teachers everywhere must wrestle with this problem.
Copyright 2006, Valerie Bonham Moon
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