Thank You Mrs. K.

A year ago, I was trying to work with my son’s school counselor, Mrs. K, to figure out why my son cried about having to go to school every single day. I thought that she, being a counselor, might have some insight that would help me. One day, in frustration, as I was leaving her office, I commented that it’s too bad the school system doesn’t teach to how my son learns- how his brain works. Her reply was that if schools taught to my son’s brain, then the majority of children wouldn’t learn.

My son gave me this note the other day because he didn’t want to go to school.

In a nanosecond, with every fiber of my being, I knew that was dead wrong. And more than that, I knew that if schools would teach to how my son learns, then every child would be able to learn; not just the majority. And hell yeah, I was pissed off.

Since that time, I have thought about that comment a lot. I know that my son has Sensory Processing Disorder, and because of that I know that he benefits from certain small modifications in his school day. And  I am also learning that my son is very right-brained. What that means is that his strengths lie in his ability to think creatively, use global reasoning rather than logic and analysis, to be amazingly intuitive, and to follow a heart directed life.

He thinks in at least 3 dimensions instead of 2 or 1. When problem solving, he sees 25 possibilities (and most of them, outside the box) instead of 5. His creativity in general is off the charts. When he interacts with people, his body intuitively lets him know if they are ok or not. And the same for people’s motivations- he knows if something feels right or wrong; and it’s not ambiguous to him. As he goes through life and will have to make hard decisions, or the big life decisions, he will be able to listen to and follow his heart, which will always take him the right way.

Our current education system was set up to educate en mass. As such, it was also designed by predominantly left brained thinking people, for left brain thinking people. One definition of left-brained, describes people whose behavior is dominated by logic, analytical thinking, and verbal communication rather than emotion and creativity. And along with verbal communication, is communication that is written and read. Logical and analytical thinking involves following a thread of thought, usually down one or two paths, and analyzing (using the brain) which path is better.

So, how would a school look if it taught to a right-brained child? Well, it would have to use a multidisciplinary and multisensory approach. What I mean is, that when teaching a child the alphabet, a right brain child needs to build and to feel each letter as a 3 dimensional object. So, in every grade and every class, art needs to be heavily involved. Instead of reading a book and taking a multiple choice quiz on its contents, have the child build a diorama or Lego project about the story, and present it orally to the teacher and/or classmates. Have them paint or create artistically in other ways, to demonstrate social studies concepts and history.

In helping the brain assimilate math, music needs to be involved. Keeping the beat of a song, and learning about eighth, quarter, half, and whole notes comes so much more easily when music is involved. Music needs to be a significant part of every curriculum.  And for my son specifically, who has issues with small motor control of their fingers, he is more likely to want to learn to play an instrument than to sit and work at holding a pencil, trying to form letters. Who cares about writing the alphabet when you can play the Mario theme song? Music would help his small motor control, that would help his writing. And music also helps a child with math. (This last one has actually been shown in studies).

Math concepts would also be easier learned by using manipulatives, things like blocks or other 3D objects. My son’s school used these a bit through second grade, but they should be used much further up the grades for right-brained teaching.

To learn spelling, kids would be up on their feet, doing jumping jacks and cross body exercises, spelling their words out loud. This would help the words integrate into their brains better, get them moving and exercising, and bring their attention back to the classroom.

This whole system of clumping children together only by how old they are, needs to go too. I would love to see children clumped together by where they are in their development, and by their strengths. I can just see it now. My son’s classroom would have tubs and tubs of Lego’s and other building materials. And you would see projects all around the room that represented everything from their times tables, to a scene from WWII, to creations representing several books that were either read, or listened to (many of these right-brained kiddos find reading a big challenge).

So, if our education system taught to, and thus valued, the strengths of my right-brained son, all children would have to learn how to see a problem from all angles and levels, to think (creatively) outside the box, and to honor and value their intuition. They would learn to use and integrate art, music, and physical movement in all they do. I can see the amazing possibilities to help not only our children, but our whole world and future. So thanks Mrs. K. I felt you were wrong, and now I know why. Time for you and for our educational system’s current paradigms to retire.

And how to make these changes? I put that one out to the creative, thinking outside the box, problem solvers of the world: those who are right-brained, like my son.

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About mariner2mother

I'm a mother of a very spirited 15 year old son, and a former merchant ship's deck officer. To feed my creative side I take photos. I am also Reiki attuned and am a student of Energy Healing, having used several healing modalities to work on myself and my family. Our most recent adventure has me homeschooling my teenager.
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4 Responses to Thank You Mrs. K.

  1. Lenore Diane says:

    M2M, have you sent this piece to anyone? You should write it to an editor of a magazine or newspaper. This is a powerful and thoughtful piece. The post-it note your son left is heartbreaking.

  2. Thank you very much Lenore. No, I had not thought to write it to an editor of a magazine or newspaper. Definitely food for thought. Yes, the note is heartbreaking. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first of it’s kind, and likely won’t be the last. Once in a blue moon, I do keep the kiddo home on a day that he’s very congested and just can’t deal.

  3. Karen says:

    I have been reading about Indigo Children and Crystal Children. A great book that I just read was The Idiots Guide to Indigo Children. You might want to take a look. You and your son are very gifted.
    As a person on the inside of public schools, I agree we need to change the way we teach and include more modalities for doing so. Unfortunately, we spend so much time with trying to meet the mandates and sanctions of NCLB that the creativity and time for the much needed “extras” to meet the needs of this new generation of student is nonexistent. 😦
    Keep up the good work, Mom!

    • Thank you Karen. I was just trying to imagine a different place and time, where the way schools were designed, and their goals (ie. completely different definition of “success”) and how they are measured, were very different. Theses wonderful kiddos are wired for a world that is yet to come, and many believe is fast on it’s way. I have done some reading on Crystals and Indigos and will look into the book you mentioned.

      I see our public school system as a paradigm that is in need of a big shift. So glad to have at least one right brained thinker that I know, in there. You guys are my only hope.

      PS. I just get really ticked off when the school’s counselor literally told me to get a hobby (as in, you are spending too much time on your son and bugging me, and I don’t have the time or energy to figure out why he’s crying about school every day, so find something else to worry about). She backed off a little bit when I said, “You mean, besides my home business?” What a maroon!

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