Monday, February 11, 2008

Learning plan

For some reason I keep wanting to write "lesson" plan, which really is very different from "learning plan".

The worst I feared happening was receiving confirmation from Billy that Scott was not bringing with him to the classroom the most basic-of-basic foundation of readiness to learn. And if that was true, then what? I suppose the implications I dreaded consist of these strands:

1) the possibility that school really HAD done more damage then good, and it was going to take an exhausting effort to undo--and that's my fault too because if I'd have volunteered in the classroom last year I'd have seen sooner that this was wrong for him and I'd have acted sooner 2) the specter raised again of homeschooling 3) more evidence that Something's Wrong--is it our marriage that's having such an adverse effect, and how can I convince Gary of that: or is there something beyond immaturity in Scott? 4) prospect of having made a Big Mistake in moving him from his other school (especially since he'd been crying and saying he wanted to go to the other school) 5) prospect of having been deceived by my powerful sense that the other school wasn't meeting his needs, and my strongly positive feeling about Trillium: CAN I trust that the Universe is 'conspiring' to help me to meet everyone's needs? Or is all the work I've been doing with Sharon bullshit? 6) the prospect that the way I've been raising him is totally misguided and I'm shielding myself from responsibility by blaming the school; that I'm 'in denial'.

While waiting for Friday and the meeting I was cowering, bracing myself to hear the worst. I was in tears within the first 5 minutes.

And I suppose I should have taken a clue from the fact that this meeting was intended to include Scott, and to set up a learning plan. An Individual Learning Plan, which each child in the classroom has. It's a plan for each quarter of the school year, goals that the child hopes to reach, a listing of interests, passions. The thrust of the conversation wasn't that Scott didn't belong in the classroom; it was how best to match his learning plan with his style of learning. I'm not sure how much of a true participant Scott was, because I think it was too abstract for him, but he did say that he'd like to build an eyeball (like the model in the optometrist's office). He also is fascinated with the lofts in the classroom and wants to build one. So, those are his goals.

Billy noted that Scott seems to need to engage objects tactilely and that this is part of his learning style. A friend (you know who you are! ;D ) pointed out to me that tactile learning is a distinct and recognized style of learning. At her suggestion I googled 'tactile learning' and found a list of traits that describe Scott very accurately. I see that he was a tactile-learning child with a teacher who teaches to a visual and auditory learning style. I could see that the behaviors that produced reprimands in such a classroom (and an overall tone of disapproval) are part of the very foundation of who he is. Since the standard of behavior for Billy's classroom is friendly for children who aren't auditory/visual learners, hopefully he'll be able to reverse the bad start he got since being himself is not something that will be frowned on here.

But, he cried again this morning when I left him. He said he preferred getting on the bus, because that wasn't sad for him. But it is sad for him that we separate in the classroom. We've got to find a way to work around that.

1 comment:

Joker The Lurcher said...

that leaving them thing is hard. i always used to get in the car and cry - in the end my husband did the dropping off and i did the picking up which worked much better for everyone.