Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tammy Glaser (and the DHM) on teaching the whole child (L'Harmas posts)

One of the keynote speakers at this year's L'Harmas weekend was Tammy Glaser.  Most Treehouse readers know who Tammy is. (She also brought her daughter Pamela with her, and we got to see Pamela's artwork.) Many of you will also know that she has been involved with a small school, so she has been getting the chance to see how CM works with even more shapes and sizes and styles of children.

Tammy talked about teaching vs. what you might call therapizing. The Deputy Headmistress posted on a similar theme, awhile back, saying, 'Intimidated by the condescending attitude of the perky expert, who spoke kindly but loftily to all of us as though we were small and more than unusually dim children, we found ourselves responding by feeling small and dim and mentally shrinking down to her expectations."

If we are to teach with things and thoughts, then the teacher--of any student, including one with particular limitations--needs to know what potential things and thoughts are in the lesson, what might be in the way, and how we can get around those obstacles, make the lesson meaningful...and not make anybody feel small and dim.  Sometimes, in a classroom, that just means doing what teachers have always done: seating one child away from chattering friends or other distractions, or putting another one right up front to keep an eye on them.  It might mean letting certain children "break the rules"--letting them narrate a picture talk with the picture in front of them instead of hidden.  In a one-on-one situation, there's even more room for taking things as slow or making things as concrete as they need to be for that student.

And, to take something else away from what Tammy said, that makes outdoor time even more valuable for all children.  What sorts of things happen...naturally...on nature walks, during outdoor play time, in an afternoon at the beach? What happens when you encounter a real praying mantis? How can you match that in a therapy room?

We want to give everyone access to real things, big thoughts. It might help to remember that "a person's a person no matter how small," but only in the sense, maybe, of physical size or chronological age.  Because nobody wants to feel small and dim.

Another post you might like:  Illegal Moves.

More posts about L'Harmas 2014

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