After weeks of rain the clouds finally parted and reassuringly the sky is still blue. The sky is blue and the ground is still muddy.
Since it’s a day with a name that ends with DAY – it must be a day for another school moan. Don’t worry it will be the Christmas holidays soon and you will get a break from the rants – hopefully.
Next week our dyslexic son has to sit TWO spelling tests. One for English and one for DRAMA. That’s DRAMA. So to develop any Performing Arts talents he has to learn to spell words like
Melodrama, Exaggeration, Facial Expressions, Placards, Stock Character….
I guess when he wins his first Oscar in his acceptance speech he can thank these Spellings…..
Then we have the English Spelling Test. The weekly spelling test. This week he has 15 words to learn. Including such beauties as
Advertisement, Similarity, Persuade, Exaggeration, Testimonial, Alliteration….
All the class (regardless of individual spelling ability, regardless of dyslexia) have to spell the same words. The expectation is that you will get 100%. All it takes is a bit of effort. Hang on we need to raise the stakes just a bit higher. Anyone not getting at least 10 out of 15 exactly right will get a Negative. Four Negatives get you detention and much shame. It also rules you out of the end of year trip to the Fun Park/Zoo.
For F*#@ Sake.
This new penalty rule was introduced minutes before today’s test. One unfortunate student received his punishment. Our son managed 11 so survived. As he says he had to guess the ending of most words and was largely lucky today. But he’s a nervous wreck. Having seen this weeks words he’s convinced he has no chance. How can this be part of modern teaching. Oh I forgot our Government wants to return to Victorian values. Well they can all bugger off back to Victorian Times and leave us in peace.
On a side not I see our Prime Minister is avoiding being asked difficult questions so he has started sending his Dad to do some of his interviews. I’m not making this up. Well today a member of the public phoned in and basically said Johnson was like Pinocchio. His Dad then said mockingly “the British Public couldn’t even spell Pinocchio if they tried”. Well let’s try – Pinocchio.***** up yours you posh snob.
So what do we do. We have the weekend to think about it. I’ve offered son the day off if school insist on him sitting the test. At the moment he is saying that he will have to sit the test. He doesn’t want to be picked out as different. But that’s the problem with the current approach to handling dyslexia in the classroom. It’s the same as with Aspergers and the classroom. The approach is so fundamentally wrong.
Assume the child is low attainment.
Resist providing proactive support
Deliver one standard teaching programme for all kids – no variations
Put the onus on the child to put a hand up and ask for help – in front of all the other kids
Child doesn’t put the hand up so assume everything is fine
Watch child struggle in tests and class work
Confirm assessment that child is low attainment
One final thought. It’s ok to penalise the kids but what about those leading us. Our School Minister – Remember him he’s the lovely chap who thought kids having time off for bereavement was like “an extended holiday” – was asked a grammar question he was expecting school kids to get right. Guess what the numpty got it wrong. So maybe he should get a negative and be barred with running our schools. That is one punishment I can agree to.