Isn’t the human mind strange. Somethings you just can never forget. Hopefully mostly the really nice, beautiful and precious things. They are always on your mind and then other stuff just seems to instantly disappears. Not just stuff like ‘where I put my car keys’, ‘what did I put on my shopping list when it’s been left at home’ and ‘what on Earth was I thinking about when I decided to support Newcastle United’. Could be precious memories, important details and posts. I wrote a post in June and yes I forgot all about it. Poor thing just sat gathering dust in the draft folder. Well yesterday I remembered it.

Unfortunately some of the post is out of date now but at least one bit is still relevant. So here goes then. A few months late and heavily edited but I give you a forgotten post.

*********

So we have a few weeks left of homeschooling. Maybe more. Son’s anxieties are starting to mount. The government is committed to reopening the country at breakneck speed – have we really got the pandemic sufficiently under control. No sign of a vaccine. Just feels like the infection numbers will be back on the rise very soon. So maybe homeschooling will still be the option after the summer break.

As a family we have learned so much from the enforced school at home project. Most of these I have already mentioned. But one very large and ignored elephant is sat in the room. ZOOM.

All children are different. Unique. Surely the key to education is to look at each child and see what works for them. Unfortunately the UK approach is fast moving towards the production line education model. Labelled Victorian Values. One set curriculum, one set teaching method, try to minimise input costs, force all kids through the same hole and then try to carefully control the outputs. Variations are seen as very bad.

So when a teaching approach is adopted then it is forced on all pupils – even if it doesn’t suit them.

In terms of our son it’s clear that he functions best at homeschooling when he is given research to do, watch videos, complete online questions. He works in short bursts. Maybe 20 minutes max of concentration then a quick walk about or something to reset, then he goes again. The initial home at school approach allowed for this. So it worked. But that’s starting to change now. Lessons are increasingly going ZOOM. Online video conferencing classes. 80 minute lessons. Teacher and pupils sitting in front of a video camera. The teacher can see what every pupil is doing. The other pupils can sometimes see but always hear what their classmates are doing. Senior teachers are reviewing each class to check for inappropriate behaviour and lack of effort.

Now this approach will work for some pupils. But not all. Our son hates being filmed. He hates to see his image on a screen, he hates to hear his own voice coming out of the speakers. He cringes at the thought of other people being able to see him. Sitting still for 80 minutes is a significant challenge for him. In a class setting he won’t ask questions, won’t put his hand up. Will just freeze and be filled with anxieties. Basically ZOOM teaching is currently just about the worst teaching approach for him. It just won’t work. But that’s the set teaching method for some classes now. He just has to do it. His marks are lower in those classes. How can this be effective, modern teaching…..

58 thoughts on “Forgotten

  1. As usual, the school system is not built for Aspies. It was the same with me when I was a kid. We need a special education program designed to fit the student, not the student body, but the system doesn’t allow for it. Not 20 years ago and apparently, still not today. I feel bad for your son. Video talks are the worst. I hate it as well.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. That is no help. It has nothing to do with education and it’s a very outdated view on Aspergers… like all we have are tantrums so we need to be isolated from other people to calm ourselves down. It’s like “Oh, he’s having a fit. Dump him in the room.” I mean, no… that is not what we need, what we need is someone to invest in US, in OUR education. A teacher who takes time to sit down with us, one and one, and helps us. This just doesn’t happen but I don’t blame the teachers, I blame the system. There’s way too many students per class for that to, realistically, be an option. I always thought it was weird that the number of students per class kept going up but the numbers of teachers per class didn’t. How does that make sense?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. How can 30 plus kids crammed in a class with one teacher and maybe a teaching assistant be seen as a great learning environment. The problem in our country is the PM and his buddies came from families where they were able to send them to very exclusive private schools with very small class numbers. They have no idea. x

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my god Zoom is the worst! I’d never survive if I had to do school through zoom. Had one social event on it and that was more than enough. For all the reasons your son mentions.
    The conference I was going to speak at got postponed and now likely to be online only. So I’d have to be recorded to give my talk. And I’m freaking out about that. Not sure I can go through with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I truly feel for your son. I’ve been using the internet 20 years and I still loathe video or audio chat. I prefer to type, which seems to make me a relic. I get so self conscious on the rare occasion I have used video chat I cannot even fathom what it’s like for your son. Seems cruel and unusual to force this method of learning on someone so ill at ease it will strain their focus and make them more focused on their anxiety. The ‘one size fits all’ approach has no place in schooling.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Declan got zoomed out yesterday. I finally let him leave his desk and just kept his class going in the background. And my goodness, if I hear one more teacher go over zoom etiquette! I’ll bang my own head on the desk! Declan isn’t listening to the teacher. He needs someone to sit there, hands on, and tell him what to do. And tomorrow he is supposed to add 2 more hours of learning support classes. It is just too much.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes, everything quickly moved into a more rigid form of distance learning offering very little differentiation. And that’s the thing, accommodations are very limited in online synchronous teaching. It makes me very sad that your son can’t learn in a way that he is inclined to and enjoys.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, I forgot to comment. I did read this. I feel kind of like this isn’t my domain not having kids. That hasn’t stopped me from commenting before though. Nope, still don’t know what to comment. I’m being hopeless. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. 80 minutes is long for any class, let alone someone such as your lad. I hate how everyone is supposed to be the same. The world is just not like that and in this century one would hope society would have advanced. From what I hear it’s going to be a general fiasco here, but that is no consolation to you. Your blog is such an important record of this time Gary.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oy. There is a feature where you don’t have to see yourself. But everyone else can. 😔 I personally mostly like it because then I can monitor my facial expressions. What is weird is when I think I’m nodding my head in agreement, it doesn’t look like I am. That is strange.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Serious question: Is filming the pupils systematically GDPR compliant? Seriously, I don’t think so! If you don’t want it, you can refuse to be filmed and only have the sound on. It is just because recently we received new directives regarding GDPR and the video surveillance system we are using in our business center. In fact, there is no difference, actually, it is even more serious because it concerns children (vulnerable persons).

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ben can sit for HOURS doing chalk or dominoes, if he’s had his meds and because he LIKES what he’s doing.
    His school is fantastic and the staff are awesome. They are trying to be compliant with the “distance learning” directive and giving Ben a lot of leeway with the Zoom, but the time frames and his disinterest are making actual learning impossible. They had to be super creative with him on campus, and they were! Until it’s safe to bring him back for hands on, we shouldn’t expect any learning to happen. The Zoom only makes him more agitated and it’s a waste of time. Everyone’s time.

    One size does NOT fit all, even in general ed. With kids who have extra challenges, it definitely doesn’t fit!

    Good time to dust this off and post it. All the parents and teachers (and kids) are learning to hate the word “Zoom”!💌💌

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Your son sounds like me: I hate being filmed. I hate to see my image on a screen, I hate to hear my own voice coming out of the speakers. I totally cringed at the thought of other people being able to see me in a learning type of setting. And seriously WHO can sit still for 80 minutes?!!? That is not even healthy. That is ridiculous! It should be 20-30 minutes tops, then move around then come back then move . . . your son has it right. I am sure this is a significant challenge for many. I don’t blame him for not asking questions or putting up his hand. Perhaps over the course of the year things will change . . . not him . . . the schooling. There are so many great ways school is being done out there. Perhaps someone will do some research and realize that things online can be different and with online schooling it cannot be the same as “sitting in a classroom” the entire time. I hope things change and it gets better. For many this is all new and they just need to learn to be better (again, the educators, not the students).

    Liked by 1 person

  12. My daughters school uses Google Meet instead of Zoom thankfully – I don’t like zoom either 😝

    But I’m also one of those that if I find one thing I like or works well then the rest are ignored and not liked lol

    Her school actually is doing really well with the online learning!! They have done a good job I am highly impressed with how they handling this year. Last year omg was awful!! One big mess!

    It must be hard for him not being in a typical school learning setting … and I also am with him about being on camera – I don’t feel safe like that.

    But it is better than the alternative of going to school during a pandemic

    All this just started this year (what a fricken year!) it takes time to pick up new things – especially when there has always been routine and things were as they were supposed to be.

    Our lives turned upside down this year – so it will take him time to adjust and make a new routine.

    Maybe eventually it will help him out of his shell… obviously not right away and he is still young and has his things … when you were his age did you like your voice or your photo!

    That’s a really tough age cause they haven’t come into their own yet. That age is very self conscience about themselves and how they come across

    I hope things go ok for you guys 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

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