We are too quick to label children who aren’t perfect

Jun 21, 2015 by

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“You don’t want to be in 4J, you’ll get dyslexia.”

This has been the standing joke in our staffroom for years, owing to the teacher’s over-zealous approach to diagnosing any child not brilliant at reading as “dyslexic”. She’s a great teacher who is passionate about children and who gets good results (which could be why she needs to find a reason for anyone not making the grade under her watchful eye). However she is a labeller – one of the many idealistic adults who can’t bear to believe a child is less than perfect unless it’s because there’s something wrong with him or her that’s nobody’s fault.

The range of options available to the discerning child-labeller is growing: social issue, learning difficulty, behavioural need, obsessive tendency, food intolerance or – my all time favourite – being “on the spectrum”. As a teacher I find this immensely frustrating for a number of reasons. First, the diagnosis is often performed by someone with no skills, qualifications or expertise – a well-meaning colleague, an over-concerned parent, a kindly friend. The only requisite is that they have access to the internet or have seen a TV programme about the condition in question. Second, it is upsetting and insulting to people who battle with genuine problems that others casually assign themselves and – most of all – because we as teachers are increasingly forced to pander to them.

 

Source: Secret Teacher: we are too quick to label children who aren’t perfect | Teacher Network | The Guardian

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