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Meducating…it’s just easier

  I recently saw this bit on the Colbert Report...it would be funnier if it weren’t accurately reporting something that is actually happening.  It is unbelievable to me that we, as a society, choose to medicate (meducate) instead of challenging the system and fixing the problem. My goal is to fix the problem.  I need your help!  It is possible to personalize education for every child. It is possible to help children find their passion in learning without drugging them.  Help me to make this a reality!  Medicating children to get them through school can’t be the answer. The Learning Genome Project.   Excerpt from “Attention Disorder or Not, Pills to Help in School” by Alan Schwarz New York Times, page 1, October 9, 2012 full text available at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/09/health/attention-disorder-or-not-children-prescribed-pills-to-help-in-school.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&emc=eta1 When (American paediatrician) Dr. Michael Anderson hears about his low-income patients struggling in elementary school, he usually gives them a taste of some powerful medicine: Adderall (a mixture of four amphetamine salts1)… Although A.D.H.D is the diagnosis Dr. Anderson makes, he calls the disorder “made up” and “an excuse” to prescribe the pills to treat what he considers the children’s true ill — poor academic performance in inadequate schools. “I don’t have a whole lot of choice…We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”… Dr. Anderson’s instinct, he said, is that of a “social justice thinker” who is “evening the scales a little bit.” He said that the children he sees with academic problems are essentially “mismatched with their environment” — square pegs chafing the round holes of public education… About 9.5 percent of Americans ages 4 to 17 were judged to have it (ADHD) in 2007, or about 5.4 million children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention2… According to guidelines published last year by the American Academy of Pediatrics, physicians should use one of several behavior rating scales, some of which feature dozens of categories, to make sure that a child not only fits criteria for A.D.H.D., but also has no related condition like dyslexia or oppositional defiant disorder, in which intense anger is directed toward authority figures. However, a 2010 study in the Journal of Attention Disorders suggested that at least 20 percent of doctors said they did not follow this protocol when making their A.D.H.D. diagnoses, with many of them following personal instinct… Dr. Anderson said (ADHD diagnostic criteria)…were codified only to “make something completely subjective look objective.”… “This is my whole angst about the thing,” Dr. Anderson said. “We put a label on something that isn’t binary — you have it or you don’t. We won’t just say that there is a student who has problems in school, problems at home, and probably, according to the doctor with agreement of the parents, will try medical treatment.” He added, “We might not know the long-term effects, but we do know the short-term costs of school failure, which are real. I am looking to the individual person and where they are right now. I am the doctor for the patient, not for society.”

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Education is like traffic- guest post

Posted by admin | Posted in education reform | Posted on 16-07-2012

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Thank you to @missmac100 for this awesome post!  My goal is to get you into my Google Reader regularly- until you start your own, you are welcome to post for me :)

Education is like traffic.

It all started with a tweet:

Mr. Anderson ‏@matthewquigley

Is traffic a metaphor for education? Everyone in line, but no one really going anywhere. Cc @ktenkely

After reading this tweet, I kept thinking about this metaphor.  Here are four I thought of- I would love for you to share your thoughts.

 

4 ways education is like traffic.

 

  • Everyone in line, but no one really going anywhere.

This is SO like education.  The hurry up and wait scenario.  Everyone is supposedly headed toward the same destination but moving at a turtle’s pace. Maybe that is because we are traveling the same road as everyone else to get there.  And, truth be told, most are traveling the crowded road because they have ALWAYS traveled on that road to get there.  I doubt some even notice the scenery (the students they are teaching) anymore.  It becomes monotonous. Driving with no thought is dangerous. So is teaching.

 

  • What do you do when you are stuck or lost?

People have different reactions to being lost or on a road that is at a stand still.  Some stay on the route planned no matter how delayed because going a different way is frightening.  I have met so many teachers with this view.  I don’t understand the fear because if does not go well, they can always fall back on what they know. So why not try something new?  Others reference maps or use a GPS (which is one of my very favorite inventions EVER) to solve being stuck or lost.  Both work well as long as the map or the GPS is updated.  It is limited to the last update.  If you are not reading, collaborating with a PLN or discussing new ideas in education, then you still may not end up where you want to ultimately want to be.

 

  • Are you following or leading?

Just a simple thought. You can do both but just know who you are following and where you are leading others.

 

  • Why not take the scenic route a.k.a the road less traveled?

Others have shared the best alternative routes.  Trying to avoid heavy traffic, I called friends that lived near the area. The trip may have taken longer but the benefit was seeing new things. Detours and alternate routes are like new educational tools and ideas. Twitter was one detour for me.  Our tech coach shared it and for the next 3 days I immersed myself in it. YES, it took a while to get where I wanted to be but now it is my favorite route to go for new ideas, comments, suggestions and encouragement.

So what is your destination as an educator? How about for your students? There are many ways to get there.  The choice is yours!

 

By: Carol McLaughlin @missmac100  

Comments (6)

Thanks for the great post. Here’s another thought. Sometimes the scenic route takes a bit longer, but it helps you understand the region, its peoples, and the culture. Isn’t education the same way? How often do we deprive our students of incidental learning because we need to take the “highway” approach to content?

Yay! Your first blog post!! :-)

I really like how you took Matthew’s tweet and continued with the analogy. So much of what’s happening around us is reactive and fear-based. We have to be able to move past those fears and allow ourselves to TRY. The kids need us to do that with them!

I retweeted a quote today that said, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” As soon as I read your post, I thought about that again. Trailblazers don’t look for the wagon trail with deep ruts. You can easily become stuck in the ruts. I’m glad I work with trailblazers.

Great post, Carol!

My 1st blog post (guest blogger). Thanks @michellek107 @ktenkely 4the encouragement & to @jrichardson30 (the mentioned tech coach) for leading me to twitter. If you are not following all of these, do it now. :)

Love it.

Here’s another…
If you are clever you can find a way around the tough spots so you can reach your destination faster.

Kristen: incidental learning is the best. Some of my best lessons where ones that came out of a student’s so called “rabbit trail”. I also find that you find connections with 2 roads you already knew but the learning is deeper because you have a new connection.

Michelle: I love the quote you shared- “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” I am so glad I have trailblazers in my PLN. It takes many to go in the wilderness to make the way for others. :)

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