Post 1 (1/30/17)

A connection that I made to all three of the readings is how important it is to change the common perspectives that are set in place from society, institutions, way of communicating, and more. We are all used to a certain way of living and we all have a level of expectations when we engage with other individuals. But what is so crucial is that we understand that there isn’t only one correct way to do anything. There isn’t one way for educators to shape their lessons, and there isn’t only one way to assess students either. No one should be judged without thoroughly tapping into what they do and why they act the way they do.

I really liked what the Hendrickson article said about language and how some individuals with autism do not intend to blurt out non-dialogic speech. When non-disabled people hear words that do not fit in with the context of the conversation, it’s easy to be frustrated or even annoyed. Maybe you will think that they don’t understand or aren’t paying attention to the conversation. But this was untrue according to the participants of the study from people with autism who used facilitated communication.

echolalia
Saved from Maryann Ryan-Pate via http://www.pinterest.com

This made an impact on me because I currently work with young students on the autism spectrum. Some of them display spontaneous echolalic speech and others display routine social scripting. A lot of the time, other aides in the room try to connect the spontaneous phrases and words to something the students want, but according to the participants in the study that isn’t always the case.

This is all proof about how critical language is in our everyday society, but it’s also how we interpret the meaning of language for those who need extra attention. I often try to put myself in the shoes of the students in the classroom who cannot say exactly what they want. Imagine the degree of frustration and stress they must feel to not be able to articulate what they desperately want to say. I always try my best to stay patient and to attempt to figure out what they’re saying, but it’s not an easy task.

Speaking of educators and their role when dealing with students we might not understand, the article by Kathleen Collins challenges the way educators look at their students and observe literacy. Changing the perspective to New Literacy Studies, educators should broaden the scope of literacy and how it relates to giving meaning to the world.

literacy

I loved the example in the article about Christopher and how the teacher thought of him as shy and unwilling to partake in classroom activities, but all of this stemmed from not engaging in something that truly gave him confidence. I’m not a teacher yet, but I would have likely fallen into the same process of assessing Christopher during in-class activities and not engaging him in out-of-class activities.

This makes me think about some classmates when I was in elementary school and how they seemed very uninterested throughout the school day. But what if they were staying in the back and not participating for reasons other than not being academic? In the article, it was great how Christopher took the leadership role and gave out advice to the rest of the class while making the set for a performance.

As for the video of the high school senior talking about her dyslexia, what impacted me the most was when she described how much work and effort she must put into just writing four sentences. Because of her dyslexia, she can’t simply think of the words she wants to say and write them down. She goes through a whole process that involves: writing a draft, revising it, writing a second draft, revising it again, circling words that look incorrect, searching the correct spelling on Google, writing the draft in pencil and then finally writing over it in pen. This is a very tiring process just to write a few sentences and I applaud her tenacity for overcoming her obstacles.

This sparked my interest in dyslexia and I found another Ted Talk video of Jonathan Buchanan who talked about dyslexia in a different way. He addressed the benefits and the possibilities of having dyslexia and stated something I never knew before: that people with dyslexia have traits that can make them great business leaders. Naturally, I had to research this and found an article that said that 20 percent of the UK’s business self-starters and 35 percent of company founders in the US are dyslexic. This absolutely amazed me.

Buchanan finishes off his Ted Talk with a quote from Albert Einstein (but from further research, the quote cannot be verified and therefore is anonymous),

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

This is an extremely powerful message that sums up all of the readings and finding the true definition of literacy. Most schools work a specific way and just because a student doesn’t do well in that learning environment doesn’t mean there isn’t potential elsewhere. So just like anyone with a learning disability, dyslexia, autism, or anything else, maybe the square peg (the student) doesn’t precisely fit into the round hole (formal schooling). But it is the job of educators to help identify the strengths of every student.

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3 thoughts on “Post 1 (1/30/17)”

  1. Rob,
    I really enjoyed reading this post! I especially liked the part where you connected the idea of communication and language to the autistic children that you work with. Yes, I agree that it can be very frustrating to decipher what the student is trying to convey, but I respect your patience. I think a big issue with teachers that do not have the same knowledge or patience is that they do not believe that these students are literate. They take these outbursts as being illiterate, or unknowledgeable. As a result, these children are seen as “failing” in a sense because they aren’t expressing themselves. This is an issue with society, and classrooms. If these children were given more time, or a variety of ways to express themselves, I’m sure that teachers will be shocked at what these children know. This directly relates back to the video that we watched in class about the girl Carly with autism. Her father noted that he did not really know how intelligent she was until she was able to express herself and openly communicate. I believe that if more teachers had this type of experience with their students with autism, that there would be a greater outcome. Relating back to that (maybe) Albert Einstein quote, if each student could be graded or observed in a way that highlights their strengths, or allows them to communicate in a way that is conducive to their learning, we would see a lot more successes in the classroom. Overall, I really liked this post and I agreed with you on many of your points.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Rob!

    Your blog is inviting and I appreciated the over all tone in your writing. The personal connections made were full of meaning in relation to the course readings. Specifically, the relation from the presence of spontaneous echolalic speech in the classroom where you are an aid to the participants in the study proved a great point. This connection can further be beneficial for you and the other aides in the room since this type of speech does not always directly relate to something that a student wants. In reflecting about the Collins article, it is valid for you to recognize that you may have assessed Christopher on in class activities instead of out of class activities. After reading this article, I know that I will be more mindful of the importance that incorporating various styles of learning and passions has in the classroom. It is our job as future educators to “..help identify the strengths of every student.” as you stated. I too can remember students who were disengaged during lessons, sometimes, it was me! Especially with mathematics. If mathematic lessons were presented to me in ways that were similar to real life experiences, it is probable that the lesson would have sparked my interest more as a young student. The Ted talk video that you found was interesting, especially the part of those with dyslexia having traits related to becoming great business leaders! The statistic you further found was indeed amazing and I wonder what it is specifically about having dyslexia that makes becoming a business leader more probable. It could be tenacity, as Piper demonstrated, which is a characteristic that is imperative to starting a business. I love that Buchanan chose to end his talk with that quote. The message is powerful and does perfectly relate to the assigned readings which is why I also chose to incorporate it in my blog! . I look forward to reading your blogs this semester and collaborating ideas with you 🙂 .


    Samantha

    Liked by 1 person

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