Greg Ashman's blog: Filling the Pail

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Re: Greg Ashman's blog: Filling the Pail

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:45 am

Greg writes about 'A Culture of Labels': ... %EF%BB%BF/

It seems as if humans have evolved an innate desire to categorise. This is probably a reason for our cognitive power but it can have unfortunate consequences, especially when we start labelling each other. Politicians of the left and of the right have used this to the advantage of themselves and the detriment of society.

We need to recognise this dangerous tendency in education. The learning styles fad is not just an idea for which there is little evidence. It’s about labelling people. And once we label them, we tend to view any differences between us and them as relatively permanent: I may be an auditory learner but this boy from an ethnic minority background is a kinaesthetic learner so we cannot possibly expect him to sit still and learn to write.

If we modify our expectations – if we try to accommodate the perceived difference rather than address it – then we compound that difference. A child who cannot write needs more work on his writing not a label that means we expect him to write less.

This is what may happen when we label a child ‘dyslexic’. I am not here to argue whether dyslexia does it does not exist but to point out that, at least in some cases, the label might not be helpful.

We know, for instance, that a rigorous phonics-based intervention can help children with dyslexia. But the label is as likely to prompt us to try to accommodate reading difficulties by lowering our expectations for reading and writing or perhaps make us susceptible to spending money on unproven interventions such as coloured lenses.

Do read the whole post, it's not long, and read Quirky Teacher's comments too!

I have a thing about 'the fine line' in all situations.

Relative to the topic of 'labelling' in education, for example, I think the issue may be the need to make some allowances with some compassion and understanding - but we should be mindful of when making allowances has actually slipped over into making 'excuses'.

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