Due to the standards imposed by schools these days, children are expected to work hard and excel academically. “There’s tremendous anxiety in kids and we’re definitely seeing an increase” says by psychologist Dr Helen Clark, PhD in an article on Parent24 Struggling with an anxious Child. As a result, parents are inclined to get after-school tutorial services to help their kids not only regarding completing their homework but mastering their lessons as well. In the case of children who were diagnosed with anxiety, tutors have to exert more effort compared to the average students just to harness their academic and emotional skills. To help children with anxiety, a full understanding of the condition is imperative so that the tutor can design the lesson in such a way that can be fully grasped by the child.
Is your little elementary student ready to move up to junior high school after the summer break?
If you’re living in the same town where you or your spouse grew up in, there is a high possibility that you’ll wish for your child to have the same alma mater as his or her mom or dad does. In case it’s a new location, you may feel like it’s natural only for the kid to enter the nearest institution from the house. However, is that honestly the best decision you can make as a parent?
Here are the eight things to think about before enrolling your child in a school.
- The Environment
Off the bat, you should take into consideration the location of the establishment. Do you think it will be safe for a teenage boy or girl to leave the place without getting mugged or harassed? You don’t want to act judgmental about the neighborhood, no doubt, but the amount of litter or vandalism surrounding any institution can be an indication of how good or bad it will be.
- The Curriculum
Since your son or daughter is about to go to middle school, it means you already have a fair idea regarding their intellectual prowess. If he or she shows great interest in science, math, or arts, there may be an educational institution that may accept them and nurture their genius. Assuming they’re still at crossroads about what they want to do in later years, then it’s alright to enroll them in a regular school where they can acquire different skills.
- The Commute
How far the academy is to your home is another thing to study. Sometimes, despite having confidence with their kids, parents still don’t want them to travel for longer than 30 minutes to attend classes, regardless if they’ll ride the family car or a public bus. Other times, it’s the children who refuse to do that. Thus, have an honest conversation with your kid about their commute situation once they decide to enter this or that institution.
- The Child’s Special Needs
Let’s put out there that not only kids with autism or various physical or mental disabilities require particular attention. The ones with very high IQ or who came from a non-English speaking country have specific needs as well that your academy of choice has to be able to meet.
- The Ongoing School Regulation
As you scout for a middle school, you should remember to ask for a copy of their existing regulations. Most academies have plenty of do’s and don’t’s, and you have to ensure that the institution you’re eyeing imposes some – if not all – the rules you want your offspring to learn. Redempta Maithya, Ph.D. and co-authors wrote, “Along with academic performance, school discipline ranks as one of the major concerns voiced by the public about schools and the school system.”
- The Facilities
You also need to think about the newness of the academy’s facilities. In other words, are you cool with enrolling your child in a freshly built institution or a decades-old one? The former constitutes to current design; the latter speaks of history and perhaps long-lasting construction materials. Wan Zahari WanYusoff, Ph.D. says that, “School facilities have the important role to ensure the quality of teaching and learning with respect to achieve quality of education. The performance of school facilities significantly affected on student achievement.”
- The School Feedback
Don’t be shy to talk to your neighbors, friends, and family members who ideally have kids attending the same school your child will likely join. More than the teachers or the principal, other parents can offer plenty of details concerning their children’s experience there without sugarcoating anything. That can help you resolve whether it’s still a smart decision to put your son or daughter in that particular school. Ismat Rahman, Ph.D. points out that, “There is a great importance of feedback in improving learning experience for the students.”
- The Miscellaneous Fees
Finally, how’s the budget for the child’s education looking? In case you merely have a few thousand dollars prepared for one academic year, enrolling him or her in a public system where you just need to pay for books and lunch may be better. Considering there’s no financial limit, though, you can look into private – religious or not – establishments.
Parents everywhere have all heard the lines, “The classroom is your child’s second home,” and “The teacher is your child’s second mother or father,” but what does that really mean? Why exactly does school or, more specifically, the classroom setting, become the most defining experience of the early years of children everywhere?
The relationship between a teacher and his or her students says a lot about the character of a teacher. The best teachers are those who can maximize the learning potential and capabilities of the students, and the relationship they have towards each other is integral. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the teacher should act as if in a popularity contest. Instead, one should take the time and effort to develop a positive relationship with the students.
Academic struggles or personal issues experienced by students can be aired out to high school counselors. “School counselors’ primary role is supposedly to improve your child’s academic success, career development, and personal/social health. As part of this, they should be helping children overcome a variety of issues that affect school achievement and overall wellness,” wrote Janet Hicks, PhD.
For high school counselors, every day is a chance to encounter something purposeful, different, or sometimes something seemingly outrageous. Every time a student walks inside the office, a counselor knows that something’s up – like someone asking help for being homeless, or a student stressing out for not getting good grades. These are minor things that counselors experience on a daily basis.
Role Of High School Student Counselors
School counselors can help students thrive socially, academically, and personally, while assisting them in exploring and considering their options after they’ve graduated high school. According to an article that was previously published in The New York Times, the ratio of students to counselors is almost 500 to one, but that should not deter parents and students from getting the most out of the services they offer.
Probably one of the biggest misconceptions about high school counselors is that they merely exist for scheduling. Also, a lot of people, especially parents, have this notion that school counselors are trained to therapeutically counsel students and specific individuals.
Benefits Of Counseling
There are three significant benefits that students and likewise parents can get from high school counselors.
- Counselors Provide Full Academic Assistance
Academic support is essential in a student’s school performance; however, those who are academically struggling are often unaware of how counselors can be of great assistance. High school counselors are often underused in this aspect. One of the reasons might be because students are mostly embarrassed to seek help with regards to their academic discrepancies, or maybe, they have had a bad experience with their counselor.
Counselors assist students with their failing academics by sitting down with the student’s teachers and talking about the problem and agreeing on the best solution. Other times, counselors will let the distraught student communicate with other students or peers who are dealing with the same struggles so they can learn from each other.
Furthermore, high school counselors also conduct seminars for freshmen students that mainly talk about establishing good study patterns and habits, which incoming students can utilize throughout their school years, until they graduate, and once they go on to college to pursue their academic careers.
- Counselors Provide Parental Advice
Counselors offer their students’ families effective strategies on parenting with beneficial advice on how to properly communicate and understand their children. Often, parents would drop by the high school counselor’s office claiming they don’t know what to do in handling their teenager. More often than not, if things are going out of hand, counselors would recommend that the parents together with their teenager go into family therapy, especially if issues at home become complicated that even the student’s performance becomes severely affected.
- Counselors Give One-On-One Counseling
Students can seek out their high school counselors for an individual meeting to discuss academic concerns, bullying, racism, or other personal issues that the student is struggling with. Keep in mind that counselors are only there to give counsel or advice and not to deal with more pressing issues like mental illness; however, through assessment of the student’s problems, counselors can refer him or her to a qualified therapist.
“Many people would be surprised to know that much of the time we are working with students who may have mental health or other personal concerns,” said Brandi Lewis, MEd, LPC. “We have to provide individual care for those students—whether it’s referring them to a school-based mental health counselor or providing community resources.”
Trust Your Counselor
At the beginning of your talk, your high school counselor will immediately inform you that whatever is divulged or confided in your conversation is strictly confidential, unless the students will initiate giving out information that may put their safety at risk. Remember that school counselors are there to connect, help, and make a difference in their students’ lives. So as parents and students, it is in your best interest to make the most of your school counselor’s time and presence.
“Effective counseling is a two way street. It takes a cooperative effort by both the person receiving counseling and the counselor,” reminded Lynn Ponton, MD.
I love my career as an educator, especially a teacher for those children with special needs. It doesn’t mean that if I call your child with special needs, he is mentally or psychologically unfit. Please, let us eliminate the stigma. Your child has a learning disability, and this is not something that he wants, nor does he consciously act or do. It is innate in him because it is his genetic composition.
An inclusive educational setup poses numerous advantages that will hone the students not just academically, but also as human beings. By being an inclusive classroom, the said teaching space houses various types of students—regardless of their differences or similarities. Together, this diversity of students interact with each other and are educated together.
Lilla Dale McManis, PhD defines inclusive classroom as, “The school and classroom operate on the premise that students with disabilities are as fundamentally competent as students without disabilities. Therefore, all students can be full participants in their classrooms and in the local school community.”
By opening the doors to diverse kinds of students, an inclusive classroom acknowledges the differences among these learners. Together with the educators, an inclusive education system develops a structure wherein students from general education programs and special education programs are placed together in a similar learning environment.
With the goal of enriching these students, different strategies and tactics are employed to ensure that all the needs of the students are met and that they are imparted and skilled with sufficient knowledge to nurture them and help them grow holistically as responsible members of the society.
The advantages presented by an inclusive educational system reach beyond academics. The following are some of the best benefits beyond the four walls of an inclusive classroom:
- Understanding And Valuing Diversity
By being inclusive, the class is welcome to house different kinds of students—physically, mentally, culturally, and others—said learners can witness firsthand the varied diversity that exists.
By experiencing and having had direct contact with such diversity, students can understand the real differences between individuals, and in time, they will learn how to value and appreciate such diversity.
Melissa Gomez, EdD shares that, “In my class I ask students to investigate, question, and reflect on their own biases from a place of nonjudgment. Therefore, I must be willing to do the same and share the results of
my personal inquiries.”
- Acceptance Of Differences
The exposure of students to such a variety of population opens their eyes and minds that people look different, speak differently, think differently, and act differently, among other differences.
At a young age, students come to the realization that these differences are non-changeable. They learn to accept these differences and make the most out of them.
By being witness to such dissimilarities, students may realize that some of their peers work slowly or may need more time to understand the lesson. An inclusive classroom teaches that patience is a virtue and make these learners recognize that each individual employs his or her own pace in learning and that it is entirely acceptable and understandable. “Whether [the] child is naturally patient or not, you can do a lot to help her learn by starting early,” says Claire Lerner, LCSW
- Increased Friendships And Social Interactions
An inclusive classroom significantly widens the network of its students. An interaction with physically, mentally, and culturally diverse people broadens the connection between the students and develops unique friendships among themselves. This helps to improve the student’s skills on social interactions and public speaking, among others.
- Enriched Collaboration
Increased friendships and social interactions caused by inclusive education pave the way for enhanced and improved collaboration among students. Differing minds lead to a broader spectrum of ideas and open the door to enriched teamwork and group effort among students.
Finally, inclusive education teaches not only the understanding and acceptance of differences. It mostly highlights the importance of respect—most especially the respect for differences. It emphasizes that these differences, albeit sometimes uncomfortable and unfamiliar, can be the source of strength and power.
As a united group, we acknowledge each other and know that each and everyone is equally important.
As a parent, it may be dismay on your part to find out that your child will “not be cured” with his learning disability. Understand that this type of disorder is a neurodevelopmental issue. Yes, there is no cure, but there are ways to cope. There may be a hormone in your child’s brain that is either lacking or in overage, which causes these deficiencies in your child. It is not your fault and more so, not the fault of your child. You will have to accept that he is who he is and then, love him unconditionally by providing the understanding and support that he needs to overcome this learning issue.
The idea of inclusive education is viewed as a better way for children to put down barriers set up by racism. In an inclusive classroom, children with and without disabilities learn together the basic concepts and necessities of life. The goal is to avoid discrimination, where no one gets above the rule regardless of the physical or mental capabilities. “Successful inclusive education happens primarily through accepting, understanding, and attending to student differences and diversity, which can include physical, cognitive, academic, social, and emotional,” Lilla Dale McManis, PhD explains.
One of the challenges for teachers all the time is the shy and intimidated behavior of students once they hear the word ‘school.’ When it comes to inclusive education, there is an added burden. After resolving the “I don’t want to go to school” tantrums, the challenge is for these children to mingle with each other without the shyness and classmate-to-classmate intimidation.
Aside from the stereotypical look of a ‘teacher,’ what scares the children generally is the unfriendly setting of the classroom itself. In an inclusive environment, teachers should keep in mind the needs of special children. These kids are still learning. Inclusive education, however, doesn’t mean that they should be expected to perceive things like their normal peers.
Check the items below to find out what can make an inclusive classroom look more engaging, non-discriminating, and friendly.
Large Pads And Colorful Sets Of Papers, Pencils, Crayons
Children are generally attracted to colorful stuff, and this is a fact. Inclusive classrooms, however, don’t need too many bright-colored items as they may lead to the all-time distraction of students.
Large sets of crayons have been proven to be effective in engaging the children to be more creative and to unleash their artistic skills. These large and colorful materials get their attention to keep them occupied at times and avoid ‘bored’ tantrums.
It is always much better to accompany lessons with something that will grab the students’ mindset. “Visual aids arouse the interest of learners and help the teachers to explain the concepts easily. Visual aids are those instructional aids which are used in the classroom to encourage students learning process,” Naqvi Hamad PhD and co-authors wrote. Visuals or manipulative teaching materials can ignite these children’s curiosity and show real interest in the subject being tackled.
Moreover, kids with special needs may have a hard time comprehending any verbal activity. A good set of visual or simulation is much better to demonstrate what needs to be taught – without prioritizing anyone from the mixed group of students.
Aside from being an added attraction to invite a child to read more books, these reader trackers can help those with disabilities avoid skip lines and texts of a page. This can also aid in their reading comprehension ability.
There are a lot of available educational apps that can be found online for free! Technology can pass as visuals and more often than not, they have the power to engage a child in the usually dull subjects in school (Math for example).
As for the walls, it is best to keep it simple and not too cluttered with bright colors. Teachers can set up or post a reward bulletin on one side, giving each of the children awards for where they excel in. Moreover, educators can also post a set of short rules on one part of the wall.
Also, note that the color of the wall (or anything that will be put on it) will not give off any gloomy vibe or lousy lighting to the whole room.
“Young children spend a lot of time — usually the whole day — in the same classroom, and we have shown that a classroom’s visual environment can affect how much children learn,” said Anna V. Fisher, Ph.D.
It is also important to keep in mind that inclusive classrooms are not there to cater to the special children’s needs explicitly. There should be no segregation of kids – everyone gets the same instructions. Inclusive classes, after all, are the best miniature of a racism-less world.
Unfortunately, there is still no permanent cure for learning disabilities. However, there are still therapeutic ways to mitigate the effects of it. It is essential to detect early the condition for better academic coping of the child. When left untreated and unmanaged properly, the child may not cope, and it will affect his daily living. Also, the treatment programs for these children will depend upon the kind of disability and the severity of the issue on the child challenged by it.