Earlier this week I came across a commentary piece in the Chicago Sun-Times which got me thinking. Esther J. Cepeda's article, "School for disruptive students might work," voices concerns which I've tossed around in my mind for a while now.
Reflecting on a former student who behaved in her classroom, but not for other teachers, Cepeda writes, "...I do know the destructive impact he had on classmates outside of my algebra lessons: mounds of lost instruction time, undermining of other students' respect for their teachers; some diluted bullying, annoying those who wanted to learn."
She wonders if putting disruptive students into special classrooms with teachers trained to "reach" them would help.
As the mother of a child who functions best in a structured and calm setting, I've been frustrated and disappointed to find how few teachers provide such an environment. I understand that some kids have the need to get up now and then and yet others lack the typical amount of self-control (and that in my middle class suburb I dare say most of these kids have IEPs), I just wish those kids didn't meet their needs at the expense of my son's needs.
Can I get my boy an IEP that states his need for a calm structured environment? Oh, right.
At any rate, as Cepeda ponders the efficiency of removing disruptive students from the class, she wonders if such special classes for disruptive students would merely turn into a dumping ground.
Still, she writes that perhaps that concern, "...should be set aside to investigate the possibility that such a program could recoup thousands of hours of instruction time in mainstream classrooms."
I can't help but think that part of the issue is our nation priority focused on raising the bottom, rather than helping all children learn and grow academically. And I think that Cepeda's dumping ground fears are valid.
Still, the thought of my boys being in classrooms where learning, rather than classroom management, is the focus is quite appealing.