Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dinner with Mom

Maryka and I had dinner with my mother last night.  She is a retired social worker who happened to have been a school teacher before becoming a social worker. She shared with us a story about what she would do with her class at the end of the day before they were dismissed.  She gave them interesting math challenge problems to do.  She went on to say that it was an inner city school and her class was difficult to control.  The kids would get unruly during lessons where they had to read. But in general, the kids were better at math than they were at reading, except when it came to word problems. So at the end of the day, to keep order, she gave them math problems to do. The kids enjoyed the problems and did not act out.  I found this interesting since it goes so well with my concept that homework problems are not behavioral problems, but learning problems in disguise. It is not that kids are bad and don't do their homework. It's that kids can't do their homework (for one reason or another), get pressured, and then act out.  Over time, acting out becomes a way to deal with homework pressure, and then becomes an automatic response whenever homework is expected.  It's extremely important when a child has persistent homework problems to look at the issue as an educational, not a behavioral problem.

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