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Direct instruction and creativity/problem-solving

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S/he doesn't have to earn that acknowledgement from me, it is understood as a part of my "contract" when I signed up to take the class.

 

Ah, but here's the thing. You're talking about student CHOICE. Most high school kids don't get that choice, because by and large their school schedules are laid out for them. In California, for instance, public high schoolers have fallen under the increasing regulations of the University of California system, so that their course of study is laid out for them for all four years with very, very little leeway -- perhaps two or three electives total, across four years. Private schools follow suit. AP offerings determine even more of kids' coursework. In all the schools I've seen so far, if you take a particular AP course, you get a particular teacher; there are no other options. Scheduling complications can also be such (as they remain in the high school I attended, with 2400+ students) that if you need a certain math class, that can determine almost all your other classes: time of day, teacher, syllabus, etc.

 

And many people on these boards have talked on multiple threads about how pressed for time they are, trying to get their children through the work they -- the parents -- require. For most people there are a number of non-negotiable subjects to be studied, and if the kid is not taking outside classes, there's only one teacher around. This is not true for every person on the boards, of course; many kids also take outside classes of various kinds and/or their parents may be more willing to let a student's interests guide the choice of classes and materials, and/or negotiate a contract with their child about what work is to be done.

 

However, by and large the kind of choice you are talking about is an extremely rare luxury for most high school kids these days; it's much more applicable to a college situation.

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Of course. The point I was trying to illustrate was that not wanting/feeling able to compromise on one particular issue (I believe the original example was writing in a prescribed way as outlined by a particular instructor) does not lead to an inability to work with others, lead teams, be a team player, or understand the value of compromise in various aspects of life. And in fact, sometimes standing up and saying that something really, really doesn't work for you can actually help develop those skills. This was a counter to the suggestion that failing to compromise (again, in that one area) might somehow mean a child never learns this skill and is therefore unable to function when working with others.

 

I really love these discussions, but I'm always surprised at how quickly people take examples and go to extremes with them. Not requiring a child to jump through every hoop presented to them, regardless of whether or not that particular hoop makes sense, does not equal the child never having an opportunity to learn to jump through hoops. Not requiring a child to show their math work every single time does not mean they never learn to show their math work or communicate it to others. KarenAnne has clearly explained her process with her daughter (well, clearly enough that I understand it!), and it seems that the spin-off "but then they'll never learn the skill" rabbit trails pointed at her examples (or the discussions around them) are completely irrelevant. I really haven't seen anyone suggesting that kids never need to learn to write or communicate or show math work in a standard way, etc.

 

Yes -- sighing in relief and gratitude. Thank you.

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Then the tears would start b/c the teacher told him he had to do it and he didn't want to do the wrong thing, he wanted to make the teacher happy. So he was having this eternal struggle. Soon he developed stomach aches at night. He wasn't eating as well. He was having trouble sleeping. He'd cry every night about going to school. One day, as the bus rumbled down the street, my poor 7yr old, stood in the door, burst into tears and screamed, "I just can't take it anymore." Friends just thought he needed everything he valued taken away, spanked, punished, electronics taken away......I know it wasn't obstinate behaviour...there was something about the way his brain is wired. He did their stupid work during the day and felt like home time was his time. It took me a small bit of time to realize it wasn't that DS was "broken" and needed to be fixed, he was just different and needed something different.

 

I'm so sorry your son had to experience this -- very similar to my dd's response to homework in private school. The physical and emotional pain he endured are the kinds of things that can happen when some kids try to comply with a system that's not responsive to or understanding of their needs or their differences, when they for whatever reason are incapable of "dumbing themselves down," or jumping through WHATEVER hoops are put in front of them regardless of the lack of meaning or the outright damage that ensues.

 

And the responses you mention getting from other people are a perfect example of what Jackie was talking about when she said this is often seen as a character issue, or a problem you need to fix (i.e. get the kid to comply despite his deepest needs), because otherwise he'll be incapable of functioning or complying in the adult working world, or simply because obedience to others is a higher value than obedience to one's inner dictates.

 

Here's another child who is lucky in the mother he got.

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Perhaps because our processing styles differ so dramatically from our children's that it isn't immediately obvious for every logical/sequential/linear parent that a child who just writes down a single number to answer a complicated problem can truly understand what he or she is doing.

 

I know it took me a while to understand what was probably going on in dd's mind because it was so drastically different from my own way of understanding and working.

 

Perhaps also because we think the kids need to do certain things in order to "learn to communicate," a reason that's been given in this thread. Perhaps because we are confounded at the gap between the level of their intelligence, which is very clear, and the level of their performance in a mode that asks them to basically do all their work in a kind of mental translation.

 

If you don't do or haven't ever done anything like this with your kids, they're extraordinarily lucky.

 

But I think a great many of us, including myself, have fumbled around and asked for things from our VSL or otherwise very different thinking kids with the best of intentions, because we didn't understand what was going on in their minds. That's why I think the thread has been so valuable for a number of people; it's given them a window to understand the differences and to see the why behind areas in which they couldn't previously see: why their kid just couldn't do it, just couldn't jump through the hoops, just couldn't suck it up, couldn't understand the book, couldn't do it the way the textbook said.

 

This sounds defensive, and I don't want you to be. I'm truly sorry if my posts have offended.

 

I think, with your daughter, you had to jump tracks and that was a life altering experience for you, an academic. As things like that normally are.

 

If my husband were teaching my children, he would have tried to scale the wall exactly as you did, and had the same troubles. ;) That man is linear to a T.

 

I honestly don't think my kids are lucky, we homeschooled for a reason. I saw the system was broken and, like Rosie says, I wanted a little control with my responsibility. We homeschooled to be fluid.

 

I'm not sure how I would break things down into categories of "big things" and "little things." Let me give you an example and you can tell me if you would consider that "little" or "big" and how you would have responded to it: My 12th grade English teacher (ex-military) believed there was only one correct interpretation of any literary work. I knew that in order to get an A on any literary analysis paper, I would have to parrot what the teacher considered the "correct" interpretation, even if I completely disagreed with it and thought it missed the whole point of the piece. So I had a choice between giving the teacher what she wanted for an easy A, or writing what I believed to be true and taking a B or C. I invariably went for the second choice (and no, this was not a teacher who felt that as long as you could defend your position and the paper was well-written, it was OK to disagree with her, lol). What would you have done?

 

Jackie

 

If you gave him what he wanted, who is the bigger boob? Him. Not you for knowing who he was and doing the work for him anyway, it was him for being so arrogant as to only see one interpretation of a very subjective area. Your 'correct' paper would only reinforce his arrogance, and he would go to bed content with his view of the world and his own important place in it.

 

Would I have done it? I would have taken the C, and not cared because that wasn't a big enough ticket for me to punch UNLESS a major grade depended on it, and then, like Ester Maria, I would have to weigh the consequences and my own goals.

 

Sorry, still don't get it. Do you work it backwards after the fact, after the answer "appears" or "emerges out of chaos" as some VSL people here have described, and as happens with my dd?

 

If that's so, then I don't get why representing steps that don't occur in your original thinking proves the better value of your way (i.e. the non-step way) to other people.

 

Or are there actually incremental steps in your arriving at a particular answer, but you do those steps out of conventional order, so to speak?

 

If that's so, would you characterize that as non-linear, VSL, or ???? What's different to you about the way other people do things/solve problems, and how large does that difference appear to you?

 

OK, I hope this makes sense.

 

You get the answer. You have to document this work, this idea, whathave you. You have to go from there and you have to work it backwards.

 

You are now standing in the middle of a clock face. Each hour is a possible step backwards, to figure out your 'steps'. Now, normally (I'm assuming) that you fist begin by knowing what the last step was NOT. Right? You have a multiple question test, and you narrow your choices by knowing what is NOT the answer so you can concentrate on the choices that are possible? But this is the *first* time you've ever done this, so you don't know enough of any steps and that answer is not applicable to you. Each hour is off by a fraction, meaning, the answers are so close, that you really have to test each one. How could I have gotten here? And you jump around using any information you have remembered as to the last time something like this might have happened. You start testing hours using those hypothesis and after working them ALL, you find the one that is the correct answer.

 

Now you know for the next time, what the answer will not be, because you just made 11 mistakes and learned how to take another step backwards from those 11 mistakes.

 

Repeat ad nauseam until you finally, with surety, know what the answers won't be. And now, you know how to take a step forward because you have laid a trail in your brain of how this thing works. Work it backwards to the beginning.

 

And yes, sometimes it IS reinventing the wheel and it's a crappy feeling when you get back there and see that if you just followed these steps... you'd be there already. BUT, if doing it once that way enables you to *understand* the steps from that point forward, it's all good. It is a way to learn, it's creative, and most wonderful things are learned by accident-which is the glory of making all those mistakes. That is the VSL gift to the linear. Because the linear didn't see that option by working it forward. (Let's also not forget though that the linear are blessed with glorious mistakes, too.)

 

BUT, unless you ahve steps, you have nothing but an answer to give, which isn't really a gift unless someone ELSE can figure it out for you

 

And, I don't know what the truck that is, VSL, linear, Miss Piggy. lol.

 

ETA; if you are immensely blessed, you will have an incredibly gifted teacher who will see for you, and be able to teach you how you worked it. Those teachers, in the school system, are far between, but I've met them. I think they ration them out per school. (Which is also why I believe that certain subjects should have teachers who are masters, because in teaching, you no only need to know what the correct answer is, but more importantly, why they got the wrong answer and how to correct it. I think that's why VSL kids get frustrated in PS)

 

OFF-TOPIC, not related to different learners, but to rebellion (of any learners)

:rant:

And yes, I know that ultimately, even with good records and really working on your personality maximally, there are no guarantees, it is always a risk, but I like to do what is in my ability to do to "clear" the official path rather than to "obfuscate" it unless I am really, truly, beyond reasonable doubt, sure that I will make it otherwise. Like I said, I do not deny that there are such cases, but as a general advice, I do not recommend it because overestimating oneself is very easy, and many people, especially at that age, seem to be stuck in that illusion that the world needs them and will seek them, not the other way round. The reality is, 99% of people will have to adapt, rather than be adapted to because they are brilliant. And even if they are brilliant, to get to the point of being adapted to, there are many hoops to jump through and for most of those, who shoot really high, it will involve not only having to function, but really having to function exceptionally well withing often rigidly formalized structures of higher education to be recognized and clear themselves further paths.

:rant:

 

 

:iagree: And, this is how Dh and I function in the business world, too. To a T. Heck, the whole of life. Wonderful post.

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Of course. The point I was trying to illustrate was that not wanting/feeling able to compromise on one particular issue (I believe the original example was writing in a prescribed way as outlined by a particular instructor) does not lead to an inability to work with others, lead teams, be a team player, or understand the value of compromise in various aspects of life. And in fact, sometimes standing up and saying that something really, really doesn't work for you can actually help develop those skills. This was a counter to the suggestion that failing to compromise (again, in that one area) might somehow mean a child never learns this skill and is therefore unable to function when working with others.

 

I really love these discussions, but I'm always surprised at how quickly people take examples and go to extremes with them. Not requiring a child to jump through every hoop presented to them, regardless of whether or not that particular hoop makes sense, does not equal the child never having an opportunity to learn to jump through hoops. Not requiring a child to show their math work every single time does not mean they never learn to show their math work or communicate it to others. KarenAnne has clearly explained her process with her daughter (well, clearly enough that I understand it!), and it seems that the spin-off "but then they'll never learn the skill" rabbit trails pointed at her examples (or the discussions around them) are completely irrelevant. I really haven't seen anyone suggesting that kids never need to learn to write or communicate or show math work in a standard way, etc.

 

 

Actually, I think there have been suggestions that at the collegiate level it is not fair that answers are expected in a standard format with full written out solutions.

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I have been mulling over the group of comments, here and on regentrude's spin-off, in which it is basically argued that kids with different wiring need to learn to conform to the norms of the academic and working world at all times and under all circumstances, to learn to "communicate" in accordance with the conventions of those frameworks.

 

Of course to an extent this is very true; and I think all of us are working to help our kids perform conventionally at least some of the time.

 

But I find it very striking that with so few exceptions, the burden is always on those who are wired "differently" -- a term which came into being, and was defined, by and in relation to those who now call themselves and their way of processing "neurotypical." Usually, but not always, this puts VSL processors and thinkers out in the realm of the "different" or even the abnormal. And I think this is partly what causes a lot of people to believe those VSLs should be the ones to adapt and conform, and that indeed, it's in their best interests to do so.

 

(For the rest of this post I'm loosely using VSL to mean anyone whose thinking is non-linear, whole-to-parts rather than sequential and incremental, and/or includes an emphasis on visual processing.)

 

For me, there is an equally pressing question about to what extent so-called "neurotypicals" (like me -- more middle of the road neurologically, but also like many extremely linear, sequential thinkers) have an ethical obligation to learn at the very least to understand some of the basic ways that VSL brains operate, and the blocks they may hit if trying or required to explain the workings of their brains, the methods and the ways they arrive at their conclusions. At the very least.

 

Now this can be argued and debated, naturally (and I feel certain that it will be). But what occurred to me last night was this:

 

Some researchers who do a lot of brain imaging work have found that certain modes of learning and an extensive exposure to visual media in whatever form change people's neural wiring to some extent, and certainly change the patterns of neuron connections being laid down when less visual media are used. Some of these researchers, along with professionals who work with VSL kids, are beginning to speculate that as our society becomes more and more immersed in and reliant on visual media of all kinds, we're going to end up with a different proportion of VSL processors to linear, verbal, sequential thinkers. In fact, if -- a hard "if" to determine, because no one knows how many VSL learners drop out, are never recognized, learn to adapt to linear norms, etc. so we have no accurate idea of the current percentage -- if now the majority of the population is what is called neurotypical, that might very shortly be reversed.

 

So, it might be interesting to discuss whether we neurotypicals might then be faced with performing and having our performance evaluated under a very different set of assumptions and rules than they are now in academic institutions and many workplaces (not all, by any means). To what extent will VSLs then ask US to learn their "language"? Or to what extent will institutions of all sorts need to adapt their current ways to become more amenable to other types of thinkers? How might this change the way we perceive what our children "should" do over the course of an education, and how they might be taught to think about their own brains?

 

And as a sidetrack from that train of thought: how many of you with VSL kids or kids who are differently wired in any way discuss that wiring with your kids? How do you talk about it? How do your kids understand the workings of their own minds, or the problems that can occur when they come up against the demands of systems based on different thinking patterns or processing modes than their own?

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This sounds defensive, and I don't want you to be. I'm truly sorry if my posts have offended.

 

 

I didn't mean it to sound defensive, because I wasn't bothered by what you said. I just mean to explain possible reasons why for many of us the way to the solution doesn't seem to come as easily as it did for you. You seem to have discovered ways to bounce between "modes" of processing quite easily, and to understand both approaches, which I still think is in and of itself a gift, and not all that common. For instance, I test as "mixed" when i take the VSL/nonVSL or left-brained/right-brained kinds of tests. But I understand, deeply and most easily, the sequential, linear mode, and it took me all kinds of thrashing around and fumbling and I needed lots of help to truly understand the way dd's mind works even to the extent that I do.

 

You gave a really detailed explanation of your working backwards process, which I'm going to have to read several times to figure out!

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And as a sidetrack from that train of thought: how many of you with VSL kids or kids who are differently wired in any way discuss that wiring with your kids? How do you talk about it? How do your kids understand the workings of their own minds, or the problems that can occur when they come up against the demands of systems based on different thinking patterns or processing modes than their own?

 

In 3rd grade we finally figured out ds was having real problems reading. It wasn't just lack of trying. It was frustrating. At the same time we were doing a study on the brain, a freebie from the National Institute of Health or someplace I've forgotten. At that point we were convinced he would learn more like dh than me.

 

We talked about how his brain processes information differently. I am not well educated enough on these issues to discuss them in depth, but we framed it as a difference, not a deficit.

 

We've had many discussions about how he perceives things. He's not real forthcoming or defiant at this point, but he understands what works and what doesn't. He basically refused to do any more outlining last year. Finally ones of Nan's post resonated and we switching to more of the mind mapping Lori mentioned in the other post.

 

I've often told him I need to know more from him because I don't completely understand HOW he learns.

 

This conversation (this thread) has shown me that *I* need to do more research and ds and I need to have more conversations before we start back to school. In the past he has tried to negotiate out of assignments or ignores them (we had total chaos last year, he got away with it too much). I hope with more understanding that I want to work with him, not against him, we can have more success and more completion.

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Actually, I think there have been suggestions that at the collegiate level it is not fair that answers are expected in a standard format with full written out solutions.

 

I've been following both threads and I haven't seen this at all. What I have seen are questions around whether there are different ways to assess, and how that might look. I think that's a valuable discussion to have, and I don't think it has the flavour "that's not fair!" that your comment implies.

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I've been following both threads and I haven't seen this at all. What I have seen are questions around whether there are different ways to assess, and how that might look. I think that's a valuable discussion to have, and I don't think it has the flavour "that's not fair!" that your comment implies.

 

I believe your "that's not fair!" description is also an inaccurate assessment of my comment. I was not suggesting that they were whining which is what your presentation does imply.

 

However, a discussion about exploring alternative methods for assessment does suggest that the original standards are not fair to these students.

 

FWIW, I used the word "fair" b/c it was the word used in one of the posts that came to mind when I read your post:

 

Would it be "fair" to let a student like him draw his answers or just provide the solution, if he doesn't arrive at the solution in a step-by-step way? Is it "fair" that educational institutions are designed almost entirely by and for one particular type of thinker? Would it make sense to flunk a profoundly gifted student with a passion for physics because he doesn't think the "normal" way? Those are (IMHO) very complicated questions.

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I believe your "that's not fair!" description is also an inaccurate assessment of my comment. I was not suggesting that they were whining which is what your presentation does imply.

 

 

Fair enough. ;)
However, a discussion about exploring alternative methods for assessment does suggest that the original standards are not fair to these students.

 

FWIW, I used the word "fair" b/c it was the word used in one of the posts that came to mind when I read your post:

 

I don't see this as a suggestion that things *are* unfair. I suppose I would see an "unfair" comment as a complaint, and I don't see a complaint here as much as probing questions that are trying to determine whether the standard approach is the best/only way to reach a variety of learning styles. (And wasn't that in response to a question by a professor who was asking how better to reach non-linear thinking students?) I think using the quote you posted above as an example of a suggestion that things are unfair at the collegiate level is exactly what I was talking about in my post; it seems slightly out of context, and much more extreme than the intent I would attribute to the original thread of discussion.

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FYI: There is a sample of the Right Brained Children book on google books. http://books.google.com/books/about/Right_Brained_Children_in_a_Left_Brained.html?id=j2VvjIBjdE0C

 

 

Just reading the beginning of that book, I think the title is a misnomer. It appears to have much more to do with ADD and then looking at the learning style of kids with ADD. JMO.

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Just reading the beginning of that book' date=' I think the title is a misnomer. It appears to have much more to do with ADD and then looking at the learning style of kids with ADD. JMO.[/quote']

 

The author talks about a wide variety of processing issues, LDs, and other things that I don't know quite what to call (dyslexia, spectrum disorders, and a handful of other things) that can, or even perhaps often are, co-existent with the EXTREMES of right-brained processing. His own interest and speciality is ADD. But for what it's worth, I found all the teaching techniques to be incredibly helpful for dd, who is not nearly as extreme; or at least, she mixes visual models with a huge auditory strength and is not incapable of sequential thinking -- it's just that her more usual way of getting "there," wherever that may be, is by huge leaps ( I think of them like the tesseracts in A Wrinkle in Time) rather than steps. So if you think discussion of VSL learning techniques can be helpful to you, try not to be too put off by the references to ADD. I found the techniques, which form the bulk of the book after the opening discussion of VSL/ADD, equally applicable to dd.

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The author talks about a wide variety of processing issues, LDs, and other things that I don't know quite what to call (dyslexia, spectrum disorders, and a handful of other things) that can, or even perhaps often are, co-existent with the EXTREMES of right-brained processing. His own interest and speciality is ADD. But for what it's worth, I found all the teaching techniques to be incredibly helpful for dd, who is not nearly as extreme; or at least, she mixes visual models with a huge auditory strength and is not incapable of sequential thinking -- it's just that her more usual way of getting "there," wherever that may be, is by huge leaps ( I think of them like the tesseracts in A Wrinkle in Time) rather than steps. So if you think discussion of VSL learning techniques can be helpful to you, try not to be too put off by the references to ADD. I found the techniques, which form the bulk of the book after the opening discussion of VSL/ADD, equally applicable to dd.

 

Thank you for letting me know. :)

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However, you hit a magic word with that "the Other". I get it. Yes. I mean no, I do not get the neurological basis or the different wiring, obviously, but I do get what amount of mental torture things can be. Literaure... I was a hopeless classicist and then they forcefed me with me with women, class, modernisms and postmodernisms. I totally got it intellectually, I never had conceptual problems with it, but the visceral reaction to that, that refusal of the mind to read that, let alone to write on complimentary notes about it or adopt approaches which were so "wrong" in my view, was just too much for me sometimes. Anything would have been preferable to enduring it. In my worst moments of crisis I considered throwing the baby with the babywater, giving up on whole university thing and I almost started intoxicating myself to finish things because I felt I could not possibly endure that in a sober mode.

 

And now imagine that you are in school, maybe in your early teens, you have to be there until you're 18, and the teachers all tell you that you MUST approach ALL literature, ALL history, from the postmodernist/gender/class/race angle, because that is the dominant discourse in the field and you simply have to learn how to conform. You need to master the language and the politics of that field, and not only that --but you need to demonstrate this mastery in every single assignment you do for the next four years. And what is more, it will be GOOD for you to learn how to do that. It will make you more flexible, more able to interact with those people who write and think about issues of gender, class, and race from a postmodernist point of view. Possibly they predict that your academic and economic future will depend on you doing that.

 

This isn't a perfect analogy, of course, because it leaves out the whole neurological part of things, the hard wiring, and presents instead a difference in preferred approaches. But you get the idea.

 

This, I suspect, is what it must be like for kids who lie in the far extremes of VSL thinking.

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But I find it very striking that with so few exceptions, the burden is always on those who are wired "differently" -- a term which came into being, and was defined, by and in relation to those who now call themselves and their way of processing "neurotypical." Usually, but not always, this puts VSL processors and thinkers out in the realm of the "different" or even the abnormal. And I think this is partly what causes a lot of people to believe those VSLs should be the ones to adapt and conform, and that indeed, it's in their best interests to do so.

 

 

Funny you should say this because I just peeked back at the beginning of the thread to remember what got this all started and it was about how direct instruction might not be the best way to teach. I don't think the author was saying this is true for just our kids but for all kids. Whether he is right or not is kind of beside the point but it is interesting how it turned into a discussion of what our kids need to learn to do in order to fit in.

 

Hypothesis I: Teaching and encouraging kids to learn by rote memorization and imitation shapes their brain and behavior, making them more inclined towards linear thinking, and less prone to original, creative thinking.

 

Nowhere in the editorial does the author claim that students should not be expected to communicate sequentially. His premise seems to be that perhaps always teaching things in a sequential manner can limit students ability to be creative.

 

My question is do people agree with this? I think I do.

 

I think there is a place for sequential teaching. When I teach music I make sure that the kids get started with good habits in the beginning because I want them to practice things correctly and not have to undo poor hand position or embouchure which can cause problems down the line.

 

In math however I have seen countless students that have problems because they are taught to see a math solution as a series of steps, a recipe, that they need to follow to pop out an answer. I am not saying that all students that are taught in a linear way have this problem but it is pretty common.

 

Hypothesis II: Teaching kids to ask questions and think about problems before receiving the solution encourages more non-linear, divergent and creative thinking, to produce better innovators, problem-solvers, and problem-finders.

Again I think there is a time and a place for this type of teaching. I wouldn't give a student a flute and say "mess around with it see what you come up with". As a matter of fact I was talking to DH about this a few days ago. He was wondering what would be wrong with this. My answer was "nothing at all". Tons of students learn music on their own by messing around. It is a perfectly legitimate way to learn. But if a student is learning this way then they don't really need my help. What I can do is show them how to make a good sound and how to hold the instrument so that their hand doesn't cramp up etc. Most of what I do is pretty linear. I do incorporate some creative elements in my teaching but I don't feel the need to apply this to everything I teach.

 

Back to math teaching. I am not going to wait for my son to invent calculus to show him how it works. That said I think it is just as problematic to teach it in an incremental step by step way. I think there really has to be some sort of problem solving or discovery involved. I think this is true of all students not just bright non linear thinkers.

 

I taught remedial math recently and I had a group of 9th graders who were flunking algebra. Why?

 

Why do you think...Fractions.

 

Why were they struggling? Well I would argue that someone at some point showed them a recipe. This is how you do it and this is why it works. And they nodded their heads and tried it a few times and got it right and then the school moved them up to algebra. But they didn't really understand what they were doing because they never had a chance to think about it on their own. It's like teaching a kid to ride a bike and never taking off the training wheels.

 

I have been mulling over the group of comments, here and on regentrude's spin-off, in which it is basically argued that kids with different wiring need to learn to conform to the norms of the academic and working world at all times and under all circumstances, to learn to "communicate" in accordance with the conventions of those frameworks.

 

I never saw this argued as an absolute. I did see it suggested that she should expect this in her class. But that is university physics, not all circumstances. I am strongly non linear and would strongly disagree with indiscriminately requiring students to delineate their thoughts.

 

For me, there is an equally pressing question about to what extent so-called "neurotypicals" (like me -- more middle of the road neurologically, but also like many extremely linear, sequential thinkers) have an ethical obligation to learn at the very least to understand some of the basic ways that VSL brains operate, and the blocks they may hit if trying or required to explain the workings of their brains, the methods and the ways they arrive at their conclusions. At the very least.

 

I don't really think a non VSL person has any ethical obligation to think creatively. I just think it makes them a better educated person when they experiment with open ended questions. Just as a non linear thinker who learns how to make formal arguments is getting a more well rounded education.

 

I do think a teacher has an ethical obligation to teach their student in the best possible way. Sometimes this means adapting to their learning style and sometimes this means helping them in areas that they might not be naturally suited.

 

So I suppose as a mom of a VSL you would have this obligation. But I am not sure I would say everyone needs to. I think it's a great thing to learn, just not an obligation.

 

If I could rewrite the educational standards I would boil it down to two things.

 

1) Students should excel at something that they are good at.

 

2) Students should overcome a challenge.

 

I would argue that if a child can do each of these things then everything else will fall into place.

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And as a sidetrack from that train of thought: how many of you with VSL kids or kids who are differently wired in any way discuss that wiring with your kids? How do you talk about it? How do your kids understand the workings of their own minds, or the problems that can occur when they come up against the demands of systems based on different thinking patterns or processing modes than their own?

I think because I'm the VSL and DS is more middle-of-the-road (I think - certainly he has less dependence on the visual spatial mode than I do), we might have a different approach than most anyway. I guess I've always kind of assumed that everyone has to translate generic teaching into their own understanding, and then translate their thoughts into explanations... So we've treated that almost as its own subject (or two).

 

I've always taught DS that he needs to do the work of learning outside of class. If he picks up a good bit of it in class then excellent, but "studying" (the way I've always thought of it) is the work you do to make it make sense to you. That might not be the explanation most kids get from their parents.... it never really occured to me that that wouldn't be universal... :tongue_smilie:

 

It probably shows most in our schedule - we have had the most success in scheduling one or two "classes" of a subject each week, and then plenty of time for him to do his own work -- reading, writing, flashcards if that's what he needs, or something else... We've spent a lot of time working out which approaches work for him and what he needs to do.

 

And then on the other end, we spend a lot of time on presentation skills. Not just trifold boards and powerpoints (although there's some of that) but knowing your audience, adapting an approach for people who aren't getting what you're saying, predicting questions and predicting difficult points... He had a science project presentation one time where one of the judges (who had had has his paper for weeks already) announced that he "didn't understand statistics". While it was tempting to jump straight to "what is a science competition judge doing not understanding statistics, especially when he could have googled ahead of time", there's nothing DS can do about that... but he can consider for future projects how to size up an audience (who is disengaged, how can you "engage" them?), judging when he's lost someone, considering ahead of time what different tacks he could take, how to give someone the big picture when the details are too much... And most of all how to do that all on the fly. For me, doing it on the fly means a lot of prep beforehand. And I guess I've always assumed that's true for most people.

 

None of that has to do with his learning style... but possibly because I have always had to translate, I put that on our priority list of things he should learn. And possibly because it doesn't come naturally to me, I've been spending a lifetime cataloging all the places where I have difficulty and working out strategies to get around them.

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I have been mulling over the group of comments, here and on regentrude's spin-off, in which it is basically argued that kids with different wiring need to learn to conform to the norms of the academic and working world at all times and under all circumstances, to learn to "communicate" in accordance with the conventions of those frameworks.

 

Of course to an extent this is very true; and I think all of us are working to help our kids perform conventionally at least some of the time.

 

But I find it very striking that with so few exceptions, the burden is always on those who are wired "differently" -- a term which came into being, and was defined, by and in relation to those who now call themselves and their way of processing "neurotypical." Usually, but not always, this puts VSL processors and thinkers out in the realm of the "different" or even the abnormal. And I think this is partly what causes a lot of people to believe those VSLs should be the ones to adapt and conform, and that indeed, it's in their best interests to do so.

 

[snip]

 

And as a sidetrack from that train of thought: how many of you with VSL kids or kids who are differently wired in any way discuss that wiring with your kids? How do you talk about it? How do your kids understand the workings of their own minds, or the problems that can occur when they come up against the demands of systems based on different thinking patterns or processing modes than their own?

 

For me the word communication implies that there is a conversation going on, not an expectation of one to explain themselves to another person. You can't communicate to yourself, or communicate with a person who is not responding.

 

Why is the obligation of the VSLs to be able to 'communicate' themselves? Because that's the way it's always been-meaning, the few are the ones that have to educate the masses on their differences. You don't expect a non English speaker in an English country to continue to speak their native language, do you? The impetus lies on the foreigner to learn the language of the country, and as communication develops, perhaps be able to teach the English speakers.

 

 

I talk about it with my kids all the time. I learn from observing them, where they struggle, what they don't like to do. Then I test it, do they not like to do it because they can't or won't? Which way have I observed them learning more from?

 

It's the only way I can teach them. Again, this is why I homeschool-not to do school at home.

 

This is also where base skills like narration and dictation come in, with history things like living books. You'll pick up on this stuff quickly if you can pinpoint who excels at which mode of communication. I kept asking why.

 

Say grammar. I remember the first time I saw a sentence diagram. Eureka! Heaven! Someone wrote out the whole word family tree for me and I get it, in the instant I see that glorious mess. I see the relationships between the words. Someone may thing diagramming a sentence to be rote drill, but from there I was able to go backwards and understand grammar. So, with my daughter, who loves diagramming sentences (quelle horreur!) I was able to see that she was spatial. Her artwork shows it, too.**

 

Son, 12, is a lego freak. Nuff said. BUT, since he was a tot, he's been doing narrations*. He would rather just keep it all in his head (his words) but if asked, he will give an extremely detailed narration which we've over the years taught him to write out. He doesn't prefer it, but will give a good account of himself.

 

*yes, I know narrations aren't supposed to be formal till 7. See me break that rule. It's easy enough to just ask with genuine interest, "Then what happened?"

 

**interesting thing: when Dd 16 was taking her cosmo entrance exam, she had a spatial test, and they only chose the spatial students to enter the program. The test was pictures of different things, and she would ahve to pick the corresponding picture of the item turned over, at an angle, sideways, what have you. Cutting hair is all spatial.

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I never saw this argued as an absolute. I did see it suggested that she should expect this in her class. But that is university physics, not all circumstances. I am strongly non linear and would strongly disagree with indiscriminately requiring students to delineate their thoughts.

 

.....

 

I don't really think a non VSL person has any ethical obligation to think creatively. I just think it makes them a better educated person when they experiment with open ended questions. Just as a non linear thinker who learns how to make formal arguments is getting a more well rounded education.

 

Regarding the first thing I excerpted: no, regentrude did not; she was asking whether there were any other legitimate ways to address and evaluate what apparently she encounters in a few students, which seems to be some extreme in terms of wiring and ability to perform certain tasks or conform to certain requirements.

 

However, further discussion by others, both in that thread and this, seemed to me to be leaning very much toward suggesting that it's the person with the wiring "difference" who needs to conform, and moreover, that it is good for them to do so because then they can communicate with the rest, who, it is assumed, form some kind of majority or dominant group. I was questioning whether this is necessarily true.

 

Regarding the second quote, I wasn't implying that all linear thinkers need be obligated to think creatively. My point was that surely the work of understanding differences should not come only from one side. Understanding how an extremely logical and sequential person might think, for instance, does not mean that as a literature professor I would require them to write postmodern novels.

 

In a different thread which began with a quote from MCT defining a kind of ultimate rigororness of thought for gifted kids, I brought up one interesting example (well, interesting to me, anyway). One of the professors at the university where I taught for many years recently gave a class on the theory and practice of autobiography, in which the last text was a work by Temple Grandin, who is on the autistic spectrum.

 

The kids, who had by this time read some extremely sophisticate theoretical works about the construction of the self, the nature of identity and its relationship to narrative, etc. and read books by both very traditional writers and more experimental ones like Woolf and Stein, were taken completely aback by Grandin. They thought she was incredibly egotistical, they couldn't understand what business all her machinery and plans for organizing and calming cattle had being in her autobiography, they thought she violated all the assumptions and "rules" about presenting a self in autobiography.

 

Then the professor showed them the HBO special about Grandin and had them read some basic texts on autism spectrum disorders. It was absolutely mind-blowing for them.

 

With autism spectrum disorders now speculated to affect in some way or another about 1 in ever 150 or so people in this country, there is still quite a bit of strong feeling that autistic people are a small, rare group who simply need to learn to conform to societal expectations and ways of being and working. The burden, in other words, is entirely theirs, and the goal is assimilation into and conformity with what is seen as the rightful norm.

 

Those on the spectrum who have written about their own perceptions of this wonder, and I would say rightfully so, why it is that others do not share an equal responsibility for learning about the autistic self and the autistic world.

 

This doesn't mean we all need to learn how to act or behave autistically!

 

It means we learn how to respond to people on the spectrum without inappropriate negative judgments, perhaps gain some understanding as to what they cannot do no matter how much they would wish to, learn to work with them in families, schools, and workplaces just as they learn to work, as much as they can, within the expectations of the "norm." The goal is mutual understanding and respect, and a realization that what we assume is the norm is not in fact the only way to do things.

 

This is the same kind of mutuality of responsibility for understanding and respecting wiring differences -- and considering whether we can expand our ideas of what kinds of problem-solving or processing modes are legitimate when working with kids -- that I was trying to get at. You may not agree. But this, not some suggestion that we all should learn to think and perceive in a way we are not wired to do, is what I meant.

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Why is the obligation of the VSLs to be able to 'communicate' themselves? Because that's the way it's always been-meaning, the few are the ones that have to educate the masses on their differences.

 

This is exactly what I'm questioning: are VSLs really "the few"? Or have the working assumptions and procedures of certain workplaces and most schools (and I'm thinking K-12 here) been set up and implemented by a group of people who have recreated (not with any kind of malicious intent, but quite naturally) rules and structures that suit the way they think, in a way that marginalizes kids who process and think differently or forces them to conform, so that their differences are by and large invisible except to themselves?

 

Another issue is that there is a difference between asking a VSL to provide an answer, or write a paper answering a an essay question, on one hand, vs. requiring them to communicate the PROCESS through which they arrived at their answer in a way that conforms to one particular model. In any number of cases i can see that this is also perfectly proper and appropriate. In an equal number, however, I suspect this could pose a lot of problems, in a way that is unnecessary if both sides are aware of at least some of the ways in which people are wired to think and process in entirely different and complicated ways, and both sides also realize that there may be legitimate and acceptable options for performance and/or assessment.

 

I haven't seen any surveys or figures about numbers of VSLs vs. linear sequential thinkers vs. mixed types of processors/thinkers, although on regentrude's thread Jackie posted a figure of 10-15%, I think, of EXTREME VSL processors. I don't think anyone has that information across the whole spectrum of neurological configurations. But my point is that the working definitions of what is normal and what is "different" or atypical -- especially in education -- were constructed by people in the logical/sequential camp; certainly most K-12 schools were set up in this way, most curriculum is written in a way that helps and rewards this type of processing and thinking, the testing establishment further endorses and solidifies this structure.

 

Rather than the immigrant/assimilation issue, a better point of comparison might be a child who, for one physical/neurological reason or another, is incapable of comprehensible speech. I follow a very heart-wrenching blog by a man whose daughter cannot speak. There are two threads of his blog that are relevant, in an indirect way, to what I'm saying here.

 

The first is how his daughter is harshly judged by all kinds of strangers who meet her, and even by teachers who work with her. Their assumptions are so ingrained, their reluctance to adjust their procedures and methods to reach this child on her own terms, that even in an otherwise really good and sympathetic school district, she's not being taught in ways that meet her needs; and she is expected to perform things that are beyond her neurological abilities because these are just the expectations and if she can't meet them, she's the one labeled a failure, or mentally incapacitated.

 

The other strand is the father's ambivalence about his original drive to help his daughter conform and have access to the larger world on ITS terms. He has fought tirelessly for this for some years, but is now questioning whether that was the wisest choice, whether it is indeed in his daughter's best interests, and wondering why it is that the burden of adapting should fall entirely on her. Why is it that the world can't adapt to her ways of communicating, just one bit? Why must all the endeavor come from her?

 

If the answer is simply, "There are more of us than there are of her," I just don't find that acceptable, and we'll agree to differ.

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Regarding the first thing I excerpted: no, regentrude did not; she was asking whether there were any other legitimate ways to address and evaluate what apparently she encounters in a few students, which seems to be some extreme in terms of wiring and ability to perform certain tasks or conform to certain requirements.

 

However, further discussion by others, both in that thread and this, seemed to me to be leaning very much toward suggesting that it's the person with the wiring "difference" who needs to conform, and moreover, that it is good for them to do so because then they can communicate with the rest, who, it is assumed, form some kind of majority or dominant group. I was questioning whether this is necessarily true.

 

Regarding the second quote, I wasn't implying that all linear thinkers need be obligated to think creatively. My point was that surely the work of understanding differences should not come only from one side. Understanding how an extremely logical and sequential person might think, for instance, does not mean that as a literature professor I would require them to write postmodern novels.

 

In a different thread which began with a quote from MCT defining a kind of ultimate rigororness of thought for gifted kids, I brought up one interesting example (well, interesting to me, anyway). One of the professors at the university where I taught for many years recently gave a class on the theory and practice of autobiography, in which the last text was a work by Temple Grandin, who is on the autistic spectrum.

 

The kids, who had by this time read some extremely sophisticate theoretical works about the construction of the self, the nature of identity and its relationship to narrative, etc. and read books by both very traditional writers and more experimental ones like Woolf and Stein, were taken completely aback by Grandin. They thought she was incredibly egotistical, they couldn't understand what business all her machinery and plans for organizing and calming cattle had being in her autobiography, they thought she violated all the assumptions and "rules" about presenting a self in autobiography.

 

Then the professor showed them the HBO special about Grandin and had them read some basic texts on autism spectrum disorders. It was absolutely mind-blowing for them.

 

With autism spectrum disorders now speculated to affect in some way or another about 1 in ever 150 or so people in this country, there is still quite a bit of strong feeling that autistic people are a small, rare group who simply need to learn to conform to societal expectations and ways of being and working. The burden, in other words, is entirely theirs, and the goal is assimilation into and conformity with what is seen as the rightful norm.

 

Those on the spectrum who have written about their own perceptions of this wonder, and I would say rightfully so, why it is that others do not share an equal responsibility for learning about the autistic self and the autistic world.

 

This doesn't mean we all need to learn how to act or behave autistically!

 

It means we learn how to respond to people on the spectrum without inappropriate negative judgments, perhaps gain some understanding as to what they cannot do no matter how much they would wish to, learn to work with them in families, schools, and workplaces just as they learn to work, as much as they can, within the expectations of the "norm." The goal is mutual understanding and respect, and a realization that what we assume is the norm is not in fact the only way to do things.

 

This is the same kind of mutuality of responsibility for understanding and respecting wiring differences -- and considering whether we can expand our ideas of what kinds of problem-solving or processing modes are legitimate when working with kids -- that I was trying to get at. You may not agree. But this, not some suggestion that we all should learn to think and perceive in a way we are not wired to do, is what I meant.

 

I think you are mixing apples and oranges. Discussing whether or not there is a mutual responsibility for respecting wiring differences is not the equivalent of expecting standard output.

 

Let's go back to the physics example. Say a student wants to design bridges or skyscrapers. On a professional level, there is absolutely going to be very systematic procedural steps for design. An individual might be able to design the entire system of construction mentally but w/o the systematic step-by-step analysis, there is no way the project would be approved.

 

I don't believe anyone is suggesting that a student be forced to present sequential information when it is illogical to insist on it. However, there are times when sequential proof writing is necessary. In certain fields, it is not going to ever be optional. (I wouldn't want to be a PE (professional engineer) with my signature on documents w/o knowing that the processes I am approving aren't completely accurate.)

 

Practicing processes does make them easier. I do not believe that the vast majority of VSLs are incapable of learning to present their ideas sequentially. I do believe it is a skill that they probably do have to develop.

 

That has nothing to do with respecting how an individual thinks.

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With autism spectrum disorders now speculated to affect in some way or another about 1 in ever 150 or so people in this country, there is still quite a bit of strong feeling that autistic people are a small, rare group who simply need to learn to conform to societal expectations and ways of being and working. The burden, in other words, is entirely theirs, and the goal is assimilation into and conformity with what is seen as the rightful norm.

 

So, less than 1%? (0.67%)

 

I know a few people with autism, and I like being around them. I have no desire to make them be exactly like me - their differences are refreshing to me. But they seem to be more comfortable when they know they are melding in and seeing positive reactions from those around them.

 

I disagree with your use of the words "simply" and "entirely." As I carefully read through posts, sometimes having to diagram sentences, I do not think that is what people are saying.

 

That's why I think an acceptance...is absolutely necessary before conversation of these types of articles or philosophies can really get past the circularity, defensiveness, and/or criticisms of past threads (and believe me, I'd so very much like to get past that).

 

I think the word "circularity" perfectly describes these threads every time they come up. The following quote from post #73 on regentrude's spin-off thread explains why I think this:

 

"All I can offer is the observation that this is a board dedicated to discussing classical education For the most part the people who come here don't come primarily for narrowly focused, technical discussions. Those of you interested in neurological research need to be aware that when discussing potentially equivocal terminology it's important to keep in mind the context from which the others here work. It's reasonable to restrict the meaning of non-linear thinking on a board dedicated to a technical subject; I don't believe it's realistic to expect that you can do so here.

 

I'm just pointing out that managing to converse using potentially eqivocal terminology is a two-way street. "

 

I will be surprised in the future if these types of threads, posted here, get past this "circularity."

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I just thought I'd post the exact words Karen Anne used at the beginning of her original post:

 

"A new blog post at Scientific American ties the writer's personal educational story to studies I've seen cited before and which have helped me take confidence in what I see my dd doing, and how we learn together (I seldom explicitly "teach" her). The post and the studies to which it refers may be of interest to those who are either seeking, or finding themselves unexpectedly taking, an alternative educational path. Those of us who have kids who seem to demand or to require a different approach may find it particularly encouraging.

 

So why are there so many posting here who have no use for this topic as it doesn't relate to them or teaching their children? For those of us who do find this of interest, it's been truly enlightening and I wish the posters didn't have to constantly be on the defensive.

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I just thought I'd post the exact words Karen Anne used at the beginning of her original post:

 

"A new blog post at Scientific American ties the writer's personal educational story to studies I've seen cited before and which have helped me take confidence in what I see my dd doing' date=' and how we learn together (I seldom explicitly "teach" her). The post and the studies to which it refers [b']may be of interest to those who are either seeking, or finding themselves unexpectedly taking, an alternative educational path. Those of us who have kids who seem to demand or to require a different approach may find it particularly encouraging.[/b]

 

So why are there so many posting here who have no use for this topic as it doesn't relate to them or teaching their children?

 

The topic itself is useful. I just wondered what the OP meant by "alternative" and why it was posted on a classical education high school board. I asked, but never got a straight answer from the OP. And then, after reading others' stories, I decided that some of the topic applied to me and my family, so I decided to join the conversation about the article, and its spinoff rabbit trails.

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The topic itself is useful. I just wondered what the OP meant by "alternative" and why it was posted on a classical education high school board. I asked, but never got a straight answer from the OP. And then, after reading others' stories, I decided that some of the topic applied to me and my family, so I decided to join the conversation about the article, and its spinoff rabbit trails.

 

 

In the 2nd post after your question about what "alternative" meant she wrote:

 

"A number of us on the boards have such children, who resist top-down instruction and are adamantly determined to forge their own paths to knowledge. I thought the article would be both reassuring and enlightening for those people."

 

I thought that was a good answer.

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I was on a walk and I realized that I should point y'all towards the Eide's and their work. They are both Neuroscientists and classical homeschoolers. They write about non-traditional learners and much of their writing is written not at a technical level but for educators.

 

http://eideneurolearningblog.blogspot.com/

 

One of the first posts just happened to be this video.

 

 

 

I highly recommend it. I think it is very relevant to this discussion.

 

I also recommend their book "The Mislabled Child"

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I was on a walk and I realized that I should point y'all towards the Eide's and their work. They are both Neuroscientists and classical homeschoolers. They write about non-traditional learners and much of their writing is written not at a technical level but for educators.

 

 

:iagree: I find their blog of great interests and loved The Mislabeled Child. Good resource to add here.

 

I must have missed that they were classically homeschooling, though. Do you remember where you found that?

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This is exactly what I'm questioning: are VSLs really "the few"? Or have the working assumptions and procedures of certain workplaces and most schools (and I'm thinking K-12 here) been set up and implemented by a group of people who have recreated (not with any kind of malicious intent, but quite naturally) rules and structures that suit the way they think, in a way that marginalizes kids who process and think differently or forces them to conform, so that their differences are by and large invisible except to themselves?

 

Another issue is that there is a difference between asking a VSL to provide an answer, or write a paper answering a an essay question, on one hand, vs. requiring them to communicate the PROCESS through which they arrived at their answer in a way that conforms to one particular model. In any number of cases i can see that this is also perfectly proper and appropriate. In an equal number, however, I suspect this could pose a lot of problems, in a way that is unnecessary if both sides are aware of at least some of the ways in which people are wired to think and process in entirely different and complicated ways, and both sides also realize that there may be legitimate and acceptable options for performance and/or assessment.

 

I haven't seen any surveys or figures about numbers of VSLs vs. linear sequential thinkers vs. mixed types of processors/thinkers, although on regentrude's thread Jackie posted a figure of 10-15%, I think, of EXTREME VSL processors. I don't think anyone has that information across the whole spectrum of neurological configurations. But my point is that the working definitions of what is normal and what is "different" or atypical -- especially in education -- were constructed by people in the logical/sequential camp; certainly most K-12 schools were set up in this way, most curriculum is written in a way that helps and rewards this type of processing and thinking, the testing establishment further endorses and solidifies this structure.

 

Rather than the immigrant/assimilation issue, a better point of comparison might be a child who, for one physical/neurological reason or another, is incapable of comprehensible speech. I follow a very heart-wrenching blog by a man whose daughter cannot speak. There are two threads of his blog that are relevant, in an indirect way, to what I'm saying here.

 

The first is how his daughter is harshly judged by all kinds of strangers who meet her, and even by teachers who work with her. Their assumptions are so ingrained, their reluctance to adjust their procedures and methods to reach this child on her own terms, that even in an otherwise really good and sympathetic school district, she's not being taught in ways that meet her needs; and she is expected to perform things that are beyond her neurological abilities because these are just the expectations and if she can't meet them, she's the one labeled a failure, or mentally incapacitated.

 

The other strand is the father's ambivalence about his original drive to help his daughter conform and have access to the larger world on ITS terms. He has fought tirelessly for this for some years, but is now questioning whether that was the wisest choice, whether it is indeed in his daughter's best interests, and wondering why it is that the burden of adapting should fall entirely on her. Why is it that the world can't adapt to her ways of communicating, just one bit? Why must all the endeavor come from her?

 

If the answer is simply, "There are more of us than there are of her," I just don't find that acceptable, and we'll agree to differ.

 

OF COURSE more are mislabeled than there are! This is why we homeschool. We don't want our children to suffere that mislabeling. But again, we're on a *homeschooling* board, we're already outside the norm, rebels, marching to our own drum.

 

I feel as though you and Jackie keep lumping us all in with PS, and I just don't get it. You both keep posting examples of PS, and that confuses me even more.

 

Teaching anyone to express and know their own process is an extremely valuable tool, and, I would wonder why any homeschooling momma would not help their child understand their personal strengths and weaknesses? Again, we're homeschoolers. Isn't this what it's about? Should we be the ones softly and lovingly (not that it's always a reality!) helping our children learn who they are, how they learn and helping them learn to take some of these expected and needed steps? Isn't that homeschooling 101? :confused:

 

As for the "There are more of them than her" not being acceptable-it's not an all or none equation! We homeschool! You keep comparing the situation to PSers, though, and there the journey is fraught with sinkholes, yes.

 

I was on a walk and I realized that I should point y'all towards the Eide's and their work. They are both Neuroscientists and classical homeschoolers. They write about non-traditional learners and much of their writing is written not at a technical level but for educators.

 

http://eideneurolearningblog.blogspot.com/

 

One of the first posts just happened to be this video.

 

 

 

I highly recommend it. I think it is very relevant to this discussion.

 

I also recommend their book "The Mislabled Child"

 

Thank you.

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I just wondered what the OP meant by "alternative" and why it was posted on a classical education high school board.

(A.) The title of this board is not the "High School and Self-Education Board for Neurotypical People With No Learning Differences Whatsoever."

(B.) There are all kinds of threads on this board that have nothing specifically to do with "classical education": threads about outside classes, CC courses, HS textbooks, grading, etc. In fact, I'd say a significant portion of the threads here are applicable to any homeschoolers, not just classical.

 

So why shouldn't this thread be posted here?

 

I think the word "circularity" perfectly describes these threads every time they come up. The following quote from post #73 on regentrude's spin-off thread explains why I think this:

 

"All I can offer is the observation that this is a board dedicated to discussing classical education For the most part the people who come here don't come primarily for narrowly focused, technical discussions..."

 

Colleen, this is the 2nd time you've posted agreement with this, and yet you claim to see nothing inherently contradictory about "classical education" and differently-wired kids, so what exactly is your point?

 

Parents with kids who fit the WTM model well, who respond to the recommended methods and curricula with minimal tweaking, have thousands of people here they can ask questions of, and they can consult the WTM for answers. Those of us who are trying to classically educate quirky kids have very few places we can go to get ideas and suggestions and to talk about these issues. If discussions about learning styles and "wiring" are too "narrowly focused" or "technical" for you, then don't read them.

 

I will be surprised in the future if these types of threads, posted here, get past this "circularity."

Actually I thought this thread was going quite well. I've very much enjoyed the conversation with EsterMaria, for example, and appreciate her genuine interest in learning more about how differently-wired kids think. If that's not a conversation you're interested in, then you don't have to participate in it.

 

Jackie

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Thanks; I visited the neurolearning blog and had not spotted this one.

 

They have had the classical education blog since 2007. They don't post on it much but I had remembered seeing it from awhile back. I think the Eide's work is particularly relevant to this discussion because they both look at ways to change education to suit learners and they have very specific suggestions about how to help kids learn skills for which they are not naturally wired.

 

It was a complete coincidence that they would have a video talking about exactly what we are discussing though.

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I also recommend their book "The Mislabled Child"

:iagree: I highly recommend this book; it was a revelation to me and probably the single most helpful thing I read, in terms of understanding DS's issues. I'm a big fan of the Eides. I knew they were homeschoolers, but didn't know they were classical — how cool!

 

Jackie

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I feel as though you and Jackie keep lumping us all in with PS, and I just don't get it. You both keep posting examples of PS, and that confuses me even more.

 

 

I don't lump you in with public schooling in my mind; I found one public school-related example that I felt was relevant not because of the particular institution it was attached to, but because the core issue seems to be the same as what you expressed: expectations that the onus of understanding and "communicating" necessarily should fall on the one who gets labeled "different." That was the focus of connection, the stance I understood you to also espouse in your post; the public school part of the story was simply context. Sorry if that was confusing.

 

The discussion has shifted among and between K-12 education, university level classes, work situations, and other aspects of the "real world" and what expectations are legitimate regarding the extent anyone, really, should be expected to conform to things simply because that's the way they are, or because it's convention, or because outliers "have always" had to explain themselves to "the masses." The original blog post referred to university level classes as well as the author's much earlier experiences, and of course we are talking about homeschooling while there are concurrent threads and discussions about college classes and the regular high school experiences of some posters that are also focusing on the VSL topic. I'm sorry if I made this muddier.

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I don't lump you in with public schooling in my mind; I found one public school-related example that I felt was relevant not because of the particular institution it was attached to, but because the core issue seems to be the same as what you expressed: expectations that the onus of understanding and "communicating" necessarily should fall on the one who gets labeled "different." That was the focus of connection, the stance I understood you to also espouse in your post; the public school part of the story was simply context. Sorry if that was confusing.

 

The discussion has shifted among and between K-12 education, university level classes, work situations, and other aspects of the "real world" and what expectations are legitimate regarding the extent anyone, really, should be expected to conform to things simply because that's the way they are, or because it's convention, or because outliers "have always" had to explain themselves to "the masses." The original blog post referred to university level classes as well as the author's much earlier experiences, and of course we are talking about homeschooling while there are concurrent threads and discussions about college classes and the regular high school experiences of some posters that are also focusing on the VSL topic. I'm sorry if I made this muddier.

the vid claire de lune (my *favorite debussey piece*) posted in the Eides blog post is brilliant. Really. I think the answer to this thread is there.

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They have had the classical education blog since 2007. They don't post on it much but I had remembered seeing it from awhile back. I think the Eide's work is particularly relevant to this discussion because they both look at ways to change education to suit learners and they have very specific suggestions about how to help kids learn skills for which they are not naturally wired.

 

It was a complete coincidence that they would have a video talking about exactly what we are discussing though.

 

sometimes I feel as though the power of the hive is much greater than we understand... que eerie music (unless it's the collective unconscious at work)

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the vid claire de lune (my *favorite debussey piece*) posted in the Eides blog post is brilliant. Really. I think the answer to this thread is there.

 

My whole name is "Ona Claira De Luna See Forever" but you can just call me "OCD":lol:

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Thanks to those of your who responded to my question about how you discuss your child's wiring with him or her.

 

What I have realized is related to my other questions about whether or not VSL learners are truly few and far between, and as such whether it is their burden to explain themselves and/or conform to "neurotypical" educational expectations, whatever form those may take.

 

So to relate this to my own experience and maybe make something fairly abstract more concrete: I regret explaining modes of processing and thinking to dd in terms of her own "differences." The more I read, the more I talk to psychologists and follow research, the less I think that is the case.

 

Well, let me qualify: she is VERY different in a number of ways, as I've said. I'm not going back on that. But the VSL part of her learning, the visual way she learns to spell, the intuitive leaping (tesseract) way she solves mathematical problems, the need for engagement and connection before she can process and retain -- those things are not necessarily "different" in that MOST other people think in a "normal" way and she is not normal. Even as I tried to get away from the "not normal" connotations of "different" when I discussed this with her, I think she still perceived it that way, and that isn't some quirk or misunderstanding on her part. Different in our culture does usually mean "not normal" in a way that is not neutral. I don't know quite how to explain this.

 

Anyway, I wish I'd simply used other labels, such as explaining to her that the spelling program we began with that didn't work for her was created by and for linear, sequential, phonetic, parts-to-whole spellers and not for the visual speller that she is. I didn't realize the mismatch for a while; not, "Your mind is different."

 

The whole problem of who thinks up terms to define someone ELSE'S processing mode as "different" automatically makes the definer the norm, the arbiter, and the judge. It just carries baggage, at least for me and dd.

 

I now know that I want to use another word when talking about her mind's operations and leave "different" behind us, at least in these specific contexts.

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T

 

I now know that I want to use another word when talking about her mind's operations and leave "different" behind us, at least in these specific contexts.

:grouphug:

 

You don't have to label it. Just say, "Well, this one doesn't work for you because you like to ____." or, "We have to adapt this to your talent of ____."

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The whole problem of who thinks up terms to define someone ELSE'S processing mode as "different" automatically makes the definer the norm, the arbiter, and the judge.

Yes, and the sad thing is that even if we choose to use different terms with our kids — like the "crows" and "turkeys" in the Eides' video — the educational system is set up in such a way that it refuses to acknowledge the existence of crows; there are only "turkeys" and "disabled-turkeys." So even if we spare them that at home, once they get to college, if they need extra time on tests or to be able to type exam answers, or whatever, then they have to agree to being labeled "disabled turkeys."

 

Jackie

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:grouphug:

 

You don't have to label it. Just say, "Well, this one doesn't work for you because you like to ____." or, "We have to adapt this to your talent of ____."

 

It's a bit late; I'm now going to have to undo what I've done in using the word "different."

 

We do talk quite a bit about "what works for you." But I think in the long run, some type of specific label is going to be useful for this particular child, because it will make things less personal and more part of a recognized continuum, using language that is common to people who work with gifted and 2E kids as well as with VSL thinkers.

 

I've still got dd's very real other differences to deal with, some of which can be talked about using the terms this thread has been using, some not. This whole discussion has been truly useful in prompting me to think more deeply about the issue.

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I think you're on the right track with eliminating some of the negative talk. To me, a lot of this is actually a positive. There are challenges to be sure, but as was highlighted in the Eides video, these crows are the ones who are needed in the top of the STEM fields. I like the idea of simply using the term VSL thinker without giving it any kind of different or negative connotation. That's a term which can be used easily as she transitions into college. Hopefully with some time she'll come to see her way of thinking as a strength and not a weakness. Only one year of "regular" school had my dd convinced she was "stupid" because she was so different from the others. There she learned to go from being a fluent reader to reading one.word.at.a.time. so she could sound like the others when she read. Being a crow is a good thing. :)

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Some more thoughts on creative vs. linear teaching.

 

http://quantumprogress.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/multiplication-smackdown-sal-kahn-vs-vi-hart%E2%80%94whos-got-the-insight/

 

She kind of disses Sal Khan and I think he doesn't deserve it. Nevertheless Vi Hart is a genius. If you haven't seen her work you should check it out, right now.

 

http://vihart.com/

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Some more thoughts on creative vs. linear teaching.

 

http://quantumprogress.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/multiplication-smackdown-sal-kahn-vs-vi-hart%E2%80%94whos-got-the-insight/

 

She kind of disses Sal Khan and I think he doesn't deserve it. Nevertheless Vi Hart is a genius. If you haven't seen her work you should check it out, right now.

 

http://vihart.com/

 

Thanks for the link. My ds loves her doodle videos. I had never seen her blog before. Those pictures remind me of my ds and math camp experiences. He does that sort of stuff all the time and spends hours building crazy zome constructions. (He just stopped and is building something else, but after reading Flatland, he was trying to construct a 3D representation of the 5th dimension. :lol:)

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the educational system is set up in such a way that it refuses to acknowledge the existence of crows; there are only "turkeys" and "disabled-turkeys."

 

This reminded me of another little tidbit from Silverman. She did a study on the kids receiving special ed services in a particular school district, and something like 90% of them were VSLs. IME, that totally makes sense.

 

I have some other thoughts on this discussion (which I haven't even read in its entirety) but I'm not prepared to spit them out just yet. There are two separate issues; I guess I could call them input and output. Input would be content learning, and of course output would be the ability to communicate information in a manner understandable by a linear thinker (or anyone, for that matter). Both are important, and by high school and college, I think the emphasis might need to shift from learning to manage the inputs to learning to manage the outputs. I firmly believe these "brain wiring" issues can be improved to some extent, even if only a little and with lots of effort, though I don't know if I can articulate how yet...

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This reminded me of another little tidbit from Silverman. She did a study on the kids receiving special ed services in a particular school district, and something like 90% of them were VSLs. IME, that totally makes sense.

 

 

 

One interesting shift in the San Diego public school systems a few years back was a switch in the type of testing used to determine placement in Gifted/Talented programs. The make-up of the kids in these programs was highly skewed in favor of girls and, basically, white kids. The test was changed from a standard IQ test to the Raven, which tests spatial intelligence and pattern recognition in a non-verbal format, and thus was thought would be a more even playing ground for boys and minority students, many of whom were just learning English.

 

Indeed, the make-up of the programs entirely changed -- basically it was now identifying VSL learners -- but, bizarrely enough, what was DONE with the kids remained the same linear, sequential, text-based "enrichment" curricula, so the gifted kids were failing their gifted classes.

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This reminded me of another little tidbit from Silverman. She did a study on the kids receiving special ed services in a particular school district, and something like 90% of them were VSLs. IME, that totally makes sense.

Yeah, I have this fantasy about setting up a school designed entirely by and for VSLs and filling it with all those "2E" kids who get screwed by the school system. Then I'd have a special program where teachers could sit in on the classes for week, including doing the assignments and being graded on their work, and see how they feel about suddenly being the "disabled" one in the class who isn't "trying hard enough."

 

There are two separate issues; I guess I could call them input and output. Input would be content learning, and of course output would be the ability to communicate information in a manner understandable by a linear thinker (or anyone, for that matter). Both are important, and by high school and college, I think the emphasis might need to shift from learning to manage the inputs to learning to manage the outputs. I firmly believe these "brain wiring" issues can be improved to some extent, even if only a little and with lots of effort, though I don't know if I can articulate how yet...

I think the issue with "output" that tends to confuse people who don't understand the way these kids think, is that they apply assumptions about what works with linear-sequential learners (LSLs) to VSLs. In other words, if a VSL kid is struggling with grammar and writing in 3rd grade, they assume that means the child needs more practice and more output to remediate their "weaknesses." In fact, it's just hitting them on the head over and over with something they're not capable of processing that way. However, if you say that you're just going to wait until 8th grade and then teach them how to write a full research paper, people think that's crazy and that you're just ignoring or making unreasonable accomodations for your child's weaknesses. People who don't think like this, or have kids like this, believe that you just can't "start at the top" without having "built the foundation" a little at a time over several years. But these kids don't work that way, and waiting until they're older, and are capable of learning the whole skill at once, will often be much more efficient and effective.

 

I'll give an example: my DS hated grammar and it never "stuck." He knew the parts of speech (mostly from playing Madlibs and Madlib-like games I made up) and he vaguely remembered what a preposition and a direct object were. I decided to just wait and teach grammar in the context of writing, but he decided he wanted to start Attic Greek this fall so I told him he really needed a crash course in grammar. He's halfway through an intensive course with Lukeion that covers all of English grammar in 4 weeks. It's a fantastic course — very funny and engaging, lots of diagrams and photos, interactive, fun games for reinforcement — and it moves very fast, which is perfect for him, because it means he gets to assemble the "big picture" much more quickly. He's gotten an A on every single assignment and test, he totally gets and retains it, and he's actually enjoying it. Last month he could barely tell you what a preposition was, and today he can diagram a participial phrase, identify a predicate nominative, and tell you the future present progressive of any verb you give him. He thinks it's fun. There would have been absolutely no point in putting him through years of grammar study, building it up slowly, piece by piece, with tons of practice and review. By waiting until he was motivated to learn it and cognitively ready to take in the whole thing at once, and then presenting it to him in a really engaging, visual way, it's like someone injected it straight into his brain.

 

I plan to approach writing in the same way, and I have no doubt he'll be well prepared for college and capable of writing an A+ research paper based on original research. But at the moment, someone who doesn't understand kids like this would probably think he was "getting away with" not having to produce "normal output."

 

Jackie

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