‘Slow Learner Kids Could Learn Better’, Say Experts
‘Slow Learner Kids Could Learn Better’,Say Experts Slow Learners Could Be Good Learners, If Only We Choose To Do Something About It. ‘Slow learners are not slow learners by nature. The people around them condition them, by telling them again and again, ‘what they are not’ and thereby make them loose their self-esteem and progressively dislike their own selves and become slow learners. Even if there were past history of physical damages or injuries, preceding their present conditions, merely by changing the learning environment & ambience, most slow learners could learn much better, may be even better than other children, if only they are given an ambience of love, understanding & trust’. It also means, no parental or teacher’s over pampering.
Every child has a different learning style and learning pace. Each child is unique and they are not only capable of learning but also capable of being highly focused and successful. This understanding needs to be percolated down to the thinking, consciousness and minds of the teachers, parents and children. We, the learning community at ‘Victorious Kidss Educares’ believe that ‘Every Child Matters’. The philosophy of schools, universities and educational institutions needs to inculcate a philosophy and learning outcome in order to process and support every child.
Dr. Gordon Dryden and Dr. Janet Vos in their book, ‘Leaning Revolution’ quoted Dr. Buck Minister Fuller,
‘All children are born genius and we spend the first six years of their lives, degenuising them.’
Several educators, neuroscientists, brain develop mentalists are talking on the same lines. Dr. Glenn Doman a neurosurgeon, who is the founder of an institute for the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia (MOTHER 1 800) in his books ‘How to multiply your baby’s intelligence’ & ‘How to gift your baby an encyclopedic brain’; says
‘Every child has, at birth, a greater potential of intelligence than Leonardo Da Vinci, Isaac Newton or Einstein ever used’.
If this statement of a great neuro-scientist and an educator is true and declaring every child has the ability to become someone like Einstein or Isaac newton or Vivekananda; then how come we have not? What is wrong with you and me? As per Glenn Doman in his book ‘What to do with your brain injured child?’ In chapter 26, Page 220 summarizes with his findings, “Who is brain injured? Who is not?” In chapter 21, page 183, as a neurosurgeon, he asks,
“What’s going on in the brain? Function determines structure.”
In other words, what function, we involve our children, would determine it’s potentials and structures. Dr. Glenn Doman, therefore states ‘ If we are not genius today which we could have become, we must have had, each one of us some learning disability? He classifies the various causes for learning disability. Some of these are brain damaged, mentally retarded, mentally deficient, Cerebral palsy, spastic, flaccid, rigid, epileptic, autistic, athetoid, ADHD, hyperactive, down’s children. Children coming from deprived homes and disturbed families.
He continues to enlighten us
‘The brain use it or lose it’
“Try this if you wish to begin sharing our awe. If you happen to be pregnant right now, look at your watch and, starting now, count out exactly sixty seconds. During that one minute, your unborn baby gained approximately a quarter of a million new brain cells.”
During these important prenatal days most of us, as would be parents, are concentrating only on right food, right clothes, and right ambience. But we are forgetting the importance of right input to this human brain. This quarter million brain neurons mean, 250,000 brain neurons per minute. Which, in other words means 15,000,000 (= 250,000 X 60) brain neurons per hour, which also means 360,000,000 (means 36 crores or 3.6 billion =15000000 X 24).
It is much simpler to understand, if I give an analogy of a computer. A computer has been created, as an artificial intelligence and a copy of the human brain. If I buy the latest Apple retina controlled MacBook Pro, but do not program it for six years; it would not only become good for nothing, it would be of no use and it would have serious difficulties in comprehension and understanding. If I now after 6 years, update the system and program the MacBook Pro, it would become as good as new and its 500-gigabyte (GB) memory would remain 500 gigabyte (GB) and there would be, metaphorically speaking, no memory loss.
On the other, if I allow a human baby grow up in a room with food, water, milk, air and shelter for six years. She would grow up, but with no teacher, no parent teaching anything, no data, no interaction and no information; the child would become a vegetable or like an animal. The brain will shrink and would have severe learning disabilities.
Similarly, if I take the laptop MacBook Pro and half close the lid to a 60 degrees angle and keep it for 15 days, after 15 days the laptop lid would operate normally whether it is Apple or not. Whereas, if you tie up a child’s hand or yours own as an adult, at 90 degrees angle for fifteen days, not allowed to move; you would not be able to move your hand, after 15 days, without the support of appropriate physiotherapy. For a human system, muscle atrophy sets in unlike a computer hard disk, processor similarly brain atrophy sets, in if you do not use the human brain.
Let us analyse, Buck Minister Fuller states and so does other scientists that ‘all children are born genius’. Their research is not directing us that some children are born genius. All children include even those who are brain damaged or have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or children with apparent or vividly noticeable learning disabilities!
When support is given with kindness, love, understanding and seeing good performance with appropriate appreciation, children perform better. However, small the good work may be and not seeking performance; Children would automatically would transform and do better and better. We tend to, as teachers and parents, seek perfection. We need to, on the other ‘see perfection’ – see goodness in them all, however small, they may be?
In Vedanta of Ancient India, it is proclaimed that God’s seed is in us. Vedanta tells us ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ – meaning ‘I am that’ I am He – ‘The Supreme.’ In Bible, Jesus Christ says through his parables, “ If thy eyes are single, know that you and God are one.” Which means if your two physical and visual eyes are closed and you practice to make your third eye open up the single eye opens up, you would have God realization and you would know that you and God are one. The words of Jesus, tell us that this oneness is not limited to only people with no learning disability- it is meant for everyone.
We at Victorious Kidss Educares believe in the famous parable,
We believe that one seed is your child with infinite potential.
Swami Vivekananda tells us, “Owing to undue domination exercised by the parents and teachers, our boys do not get free scope for growth. In every one, there are infinite potential, which require proper scope for satisfaction. Violent attempts at reform would, always end by retarding reform. If you do not allow one to become a lion, one would be a fox.” Swamiji is telling us that violently teaching, training, educating our children would only retard the expected reform.
In today’s time with the exponential growth of technology, our children are exposed to a variety of information at the tip of their fingers, which are building up their future. But are we providing them with the adequate skills they need to face life’s challenges through the education system? The term ‘slow leaner’ is a label we often give to a child who is not able to meet up with the grade level expectations or at par with the achievements of his peers. These could be due to environmental, along with various genetical factors and resulting eventually delayed milestones in that child’s life?
In most cases, these genetical factors, as well as delayed milestones could also be rectified through first ‘the right environment’ and then ‘the right actions’. These actions are in deeds as well as in thoughts, during prenatal and postnatal periods of the mother’s pregnancy. We need to utilize the research work and the discoveries made by the Western Science, but we must not forget the ancient heritage of our Indian processes, which our Masters, Saints and Rishis have left behind for us to follow. We must couple the best of the Western Science discoveries along with the ancient Rishis messages coming to us, down the mountains of Himalayas through, written down scriptures in Vedas, Upanishads and Vedanta.
We all must agree that learning disabilities are not a prescription to failure. Instead from the Special Education Needs (SEN) Department, of the school system must accommodate and give the right kind of guidance, an unshakeable understanding and support to these children and their parents, in order to overcome their fear that they are not good and keep working ahead to yet achieve greater heights. At our school, we as specialists plan out an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for the child based on their needs. We have certain curriculum adaptation, which involves the amount of matter to be studied, and the time given to these activities for these students.
The main components of differential instruction at Victorious Kidss Educares is based on the content, each child’s individual readiness and interests, which in turn, enables them to make a ‘Learner Profile’ for themselves. In our school we understand to enable our children to be ‘International Minded’ where they fall under these learner profile attributes such as Thinker, Caring, Inquirer, Open-minded, Courageous, Reflective, Principled, Communicator, Knowledgeable and a balanced individual character.
We are mentors to these children and encourage them, where we give support to every child – ‘Every child matters’. We impart them with the skills, which help each of them to make their own decisions and this in turn brings about a sense of belonging to the world and an ownership in them.
The teachings of Vedanta coupled with pedagogy (The way a teacher learns and in turn facilitates learning) of International Baccalaureate (IB), help us facilitate differential and experiential learning, and create an inclusive classroom, which helps slow learners abundantly. They are more sensitive to the stimuli present around them. These experiences teach them to understand the concept rather than just learn a prescribed definition for the same.
One of the counselor’s in the school had shared with us that ‘I learn a lot from my children every single day. I’m truly amazed by their progress. If you go back and trace your school days didn’t you also dislike a certain subject like math or science but if your teacher made the subject interesting or she appreciated us more in the subject we later on began to be fond of the subject.
We find our great spiritual masters like Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad and Mahavir Jain. They helped everyone and uplifted him or her from wherever they began their journey from. Similarly, we as our school philosophy do not label any child.
I dislike labeling them and instead would say these children just bloom a little later at their own pace. I’ve been mentoring a child who is a late bloomer and is twelve (12) years old. He is an amazing singer who performed on the ‘Independence day’ in front of the whole school with great confidence.
We do not seek perfection but we appreciate the smallest things that they do. We as teachers and parents generally find faults with people, students and children around us. It is easy to find faults isn’t it? It is difficult to find goodness in people. If we find goodness in that slow learner we make them a better learner. All children by nature, from birth are brilliant leaners says British Psychologist Tony Buzan, “ At the moment a child is born it’s already really brilliant. It picks up language, much better than a doctor of philosophy in any subject, in only two years. And it is a master at it by three or four.” (Page, 227, “The Learning Revolution” is written by Dr. Gordon Dryden 7 Jennet Vos).
Being “gifted” is primarily a product of the environment and, by the current definition, is a level of intelligence, which can easily be reached by nearly every child (Page 19, “Kids who Start Ahead, Stay Ahead” by Dr. Neil Harvey – Dean of the Institute for the achievement of Human Potential,Philadelphia, USA).
The noble Prize winning physicist, Isadora Rabi, was asked, “ Why did you become a scientist, rather than a doctor or lawyer or businessman, like the immigrant kids in your neighborhood?” His reply was, “ My mother made me a scientist without her even intending it. Every other Jewish mother in Brooklyn would ask her child after school, what did you learn in the school today? But not my mother. She would ask, “Isa did you ask a good question today? Learning to ask a good question, made me a physicist – ‘The Passionate Mind’ by Michael Schulman)
Einstein, Churchill and Edison had learning styles that were not suited to their school styles. And that same mismatch continues today for millions of others. It is possibly the biggest single cause of school failure. It’s also obvious that everyone has different talents. Pablo Picasso was obviously a great painter, William Shakespeare a phenomenal writer, Joe Louis and Babe Ruth great sportsmen. Enrico Caruso a brilliant tenor, Anna Pavlova an outstanding ballet dancer and Katharine Hepburn a fine actress. Yet many of our schools operate as if each person is identical (Page 341, 342 & 343, The Learning Revolution by Dr. Gordon Dryden)
In school, we have the facility to provide them for skills training where these children can spend more time in developing their skills and explore their talents in various fields. We hold special sessions for them to enhance their concentration and motor skills.
At Victorious Kidss Educares we follow the principles of Vedanta. We daily practice Meditation and Mindfulness that helps our children with their studies. We as Special Educators are also able to explore their inner qualities and enhance them once they are identified. In conclusion, I would like to say, “If I can’t learn the way you teach me, then can you teach me the way I could learn”. We at Victorious Kidss Educares have been inculcating different methods to teach our children so that they can be better individuals in the future. It’s not just them but we are also living with some kind of disability, aren’t we?
May be, if we could change our perspective about these children and focus on the unfocused where we enhance their talents we would be amazed to discover a pot full of gold?
Param Mahol – an ADHD child of about 11 today – from the background of an estranged family of a single parent, has been with us for over six years. He has been, right from early years, a pain in the neck for his colleagues, co-learners. We have always told him that he is not a monkey, nor is he a dog. We asked him “Why, then are you fighting and quarrelling like one, disturbing everyone? You are a good boy and you do have great potential like the great Masters. We love you, you can always sit with me by yourself and do your work” Day after day, year after year, we have patiently giving him only one message that he is a good boy and not bad. That he could do miracles. About ten days ago, as he was doing his work, with me, in my office, he said, “Sir, I have understood that I could be a bad boy and I could also choose to be a good boy. I have chosen to be a good boy from today? I said, “Okay, very nice, please go back to your class.” Next day morning, as usual I found his with his teacher and this time she said, “Sir, I would like you to see this fantastic chart of calculations, in graphic scale, a wonderful work.” Since that day, Param has become an example to all with his standard of work and concentration. One more child is on his track to be an asset to the Human resource to the country.
Dear readers, we all have work to do with these sleeping giants with us, waiting to wake up and become giants, amongst our midst.
Remember, “Einstein, Churchill and Edison had learning styles that were not suited to their school styles. And that same mismatch continues today for millions of others. It is possibly the biggest single cause of school failure. It’s also obvious that everyone has different talents.” “Discovering that secret power from within the child is called, Schooling, is called parenting”.
The Core Team of Principal, SEN Team (Ms. Rachel) &
Robbin Ghosh (President)