me kay cooke

I wonder where they are now?

The abundant lady declared that she had chosen to home-school the quiet lad walking in her shadow. He (her son) had apparently not fared well at his last school, where teachers hadn’t been able to explain ‘why’ he was in the bottom stream for reading and ‘why’ he hadn’t been prescribed special dyslexia glasses. “I mean, it’s not like he’s from a broken home, or suffering emotional problems” she continued to declare.

“Hi” I smiled at the young lad.

“Hello” he replied bashfully.

“What’s your name?” I enquired.

“His name is Paul, and he’s 12” the mum answered for him.

“What are you really good at?” I asked Paul.

“Nothing” whispered the lad.

“So what do you like doing best, what are your hobbies and favourite things?” I persisted.

“He likes crazy computer games and models,” insisted the mum.

“Cool, do you know War Hammer ” I continued with full attention on the boy.

“Oh he is really into that – in fact he wants to make some scenery, so I’m testing it out for him first, to see what works for him, you know all that stuff is really messy”. I noted how engaged inwardly she was.

And I listened to her criticism of teachers and her boasting about how easy teaching a child was.

I felt sad for the downcast lad.

I invited mum to discuss ‘how’ learning and teaching processes could easily be improved to support more diverse learning needs. But she only wanted to know ‘why’ schools didn’t teach in classes of 6 because after all, that was according to her, the perfect way to ‘teach’.

I suggested that there were many examples of easier brain friendly ways to support individual learning within a larger group, and agreed with her view that changes are required in our archaic education system. “Have you seen or heard the pioneering efforts of Sir Ken Robinson?” I asked.

“The guy who sold me the dyslexia glasses is the smartest man I’ve ever met,” she bypassed.

“Ahem” a little voice inside my head piped up. “You cannot persuade her to expand her thinking and she is set to rally against the system, at all costs to the lad and for full primary gain.”

My sad-but-true chance encounter one autumn day.

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