Another round of “FIT THE KIDS INTO THE BOXES” where kids have to be squashed into pre-shaped moulds” is beginning! I must have had at least 20 parents over the last 2 weeks approach me with, ” His teacher says he does not fit the mould”, she does not “fit in”, he is “different”, “not interested in school work”, “would rather play”. (Who wouldn’t?) Who DOES fit? And fit WHAT?
And now-for the newby-ODD- OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANCE DISORDER (sometimes known as CONDUCT DISORDER)-yes-you can actually have a formal diagnosis for this!
Well, my own kids had it and so did all their friends-this is part of childhood!
I am happy to announce to the world that I have self-diagnosed myself as having OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANCE DISORDER and I will not be taking medication ‘cos I am very happy with this diagnosis. It means-
1. I can and will stand up and tell the truth about an education system that is deteriorating into a “little boxes” way of thinking and making sure that all children “fit “-fit what? Who is the arbiter here? How can we possibly say what a child “should” be? Children are gifts from God and they will be who they are supposed to be. So liberate them from these confining boxes!
2. I won’t tell lies to children. If they have a learning difficulty I will tell them and then help them find ways around it. If their behaviour is disgusting I will tell them, insist they stop it and NOT give them drugs to keep their brains operating in a soporific fashion.
3. I will insist on children having time for the arts, for painting, drawing, music and literature. The very idea of children having to do hour after hour of “practise tests” for NAPLAN chills my blood. I will continue to jump up and down about the need for children to have some spare time to think and dream.
4. I will tell the truth about tests and ambiguous results and the shortcoming of numerical indicators. Childen’s academic performances change on a daily basis and so do test results. To judge a child’s abilities and make educational decisions based on test results is just plain stupid and borders on negligent. Why are we so scared to admit that educating children is a complex, sensitive and difficult profession and it involves copious amounts of “kid-watching”, finding out about learning styles, talking to children, perusal of written work -and yes-some test results. We need the WHOLE picture to make informed decisions.
5. I will defy all attempts to make education into a boring, factory environment. I want every child who comes to ICE to be engaged, enchanted and entranced by their surroundings. I want them to be as excited by learning as I am.
So-I am glad I have a huge case of OPPOSITION DEFIANCE DISORDER-I hope it gets worse so I can yell louder! I hope to infect hundreds of my colleagues!