Saturday, 28 December 2013

Child annoyances: Teachers

Left handed children in schools have many problems in getting an education, and being left handed is not one of them.  There are many objects in schools which make life difficult - pens, books, desks, rulers, scissors, etc.  But the single greatest source of frustration for children is the adult in the class, the educated person who is supposed to know better.

The teacher.

Like the majority of the population, most teachers are right handed, and many grow up with outdated and closed minded attitudes toward left handedness such as "It needs to be stopped," or "Left hand people are uncoordinated."

Teachers should be trained to respect that some children are left handed, and respect the child's right to be so.  More importantly, the teacher should be giving left handed children the same education they give right handed children.

Unfortunately, they don't.  In my own experiences of teaching, I have listened to many students tell how their teachers hit their left hands while writing and said "No!", how teachers marked work wrong for being done with the left.  But the single worst thing teachers do is ignore and neglect left handed children.

Teachers spend copious amounts of time teaching right handed children how to write.  But very few spend time teaching left handed children how to write and hold a pen.  Is this ignorance and poor training of them as teachers?  Or is this passive-aggressive behaviour, a way of telling the left handed child, "I'm not going to help you if you do that."

Such neglect means left handed children must figure out how to write on their own, with no one there to give them leadership or example.  I have seen so many children with hookhandedness, who hold pencils in a clawed grip.  Nearly all find writing to be difficult or even painful, and when a child finds writing difficult, it means the child is less likely to do homework or examples.  They end up not learning as well because of less practice and zero instruction, treated as second class students and receiving a second class education.

Teachers need to be educated and enlightened.  They need to give left handed students the same effort and attention as any other.  And don't use the feeble argument of, "They can't show lefties how to hold the pen, it's the opposite hand!"

Codswallop.  When I teach right handed children, I have a mirror in the class.  The kids can see my left hand appear like a right hand.  I have no trouble treating them the same way I treat left handed students.  As well, many left handed people can write backwards, write from right to left.  I can, so when right handed kids watch my hand in the mirror, it looks to them like a right hand writing left to right.

It's not a lack of ability or facilities that keeps right handed teachers from educating left handed children properly.  It's arrogance and a lack of effort on their part.

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