Thursday, December 20, 2012

Misguided policy

Here's an article in which a school system removes computer privileges from struggling students. It is misguided. Here's the comment I posted to the article.

This is an interesting but misguided concept. One of the reasons students have disciplinary problems is because they have struggled with homework all their lives. We misunderstand this, thinking that they don't do their work because they lack motivation. In fact, they don't do their work because the have under-the-radar learning problems. Typically, these problems manifest in difficulties with auditory processing and difficulties with handwriting. The solution, for many of these kids, is to cut down the amount of homework they are required to do, or to offer them bypass strategies around the problem. The computer proves a valuable tool in helping these kids with handwriting deficits compensate for their difficulties. Some do better in college than they did in high school, partly because laptops are the norm there.  It seems to me that the policy described here actually removes the solution these students need. I understand why the policy was made. It's based on a common misunderstanding about why some children don't do their work, and end up posing behavioral problems.


Dr. Kenneth Goldberg, is the author of The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Teachers, and Students, published by Wyndmoor Press.

 I recommend giving copies of the book to the teachers at your child's school. Discount purchases are available through Wyndmoor Press. Single copies can be purchased at Amazon.


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