Mak­ing cor­rect call for fu­ture

It's im­por­tant to fit the class­room with the child

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - with greg whitby

THE de­ci­sion to hold a child back a year in school is not an easy de­ci­sion to make, for the par­ents or the par­tic­u­lar child.

I know this from per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause one of my chil­dren re­peated a year in pri­mary school.

In my ex­pe­ri­ence, the de­ci­sion did very lit­tle to ad­dress the learn­ing is­sues.

With the ben­e­fit of hind­sight, there was lit­tle ben­e­fit to hold­ing our child back a year.

Re­search shows that it is of­ten a de­ci­sion made in the early years of school­ing al­though some par­ents do opt to hold their child back in high school.

While re­peat­ing a year ap­pears to be the sim­plest so­lu­tion on the sur­face, ex­pe­ri­ence shows that this isn’t al­ways the best ap­proach.

It can of­ten lead to other wor­ry­ing is­sues such as so­cial iso­la­tion.

More of­ten than not, the is­sues associated with a child strug­gling to keep pace with learn­ing are very com­plex.

They can­not be solved by giv­ing them an ex­tra year do­ing the same thing over again.

Learn­ing is­sues need to be care­fully un­packed.

Is it a com­pre­hen­sion is­sue, is the ma­te­rial too chal­leng­ing for the child?

Or is it be­cause the teacher has not been able to con­nect to the child on a re­la­tion­ship level?

It takes time and ef­fort to iden­tify the di­verse needs of each and every child in the class­room.

We know that early in­ter­ven­tion is of­ten the best strat­egy to ad­dress learn­ing is­sues.

When these are in place, the gap be­tween the in­di­vid­ual child and the class can of­ten be closed with­out tak­ing the child away from their so­cial groups at school, which are so im­por­tant at a young age.

Ad­mit­tedly, there may be other rea­sons that in­flu­ence a par­ent’s de­ci­sion to hold their child back.

This could be a par­ent mak­ing a de­ci­sion based on so­cial ma­tu­rity or be­havioural is­sues.

Again the ev­i­dence is not strong on the ben­e­fits of hold­ing a child back a year at school, and some stud­ies show it can make the is­sues worse.

The take home mes­sage to par­ents is that in­ter­ven­tion be­comes even more pow­er­ful when it in­volves the stu­dent, their par­ents and teach­ers.

This cre­ates op­por­tu­ni­ties to max­imise the ed­u­ca­tional out­comes and to en­sure that the ap­pro­pri­ate re­sources are in place at home and school.

To para­phrase the old adage – it re­ally does take a com­mu­nity to raise a child in the right fash­ion.

I know this from per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause one of my chil­dren re­peated a year in pri­mary school. Greg Whitby

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