Monday, October 18, 2010

Service Learning Week 6?? or 7 - Exclusion and Inclusion

In the classroom that I help out in Sao Mai, there are definitely many different levels which the children are all mentally at. My 3 and 4 years old are all different with different mental capabilities. They range from the children who can barely hold attention, or listen to any authority and can only sit quietly. There are some who have the energy of a 4 year old and know nothing but running around without listening to authority. There are some who can listen to the teachers and sit there quietly but cannot comprehend anything. Then there are some who seem perfectly normal 4 years old to me. These ones are the ones who are more progressive in the speech training. All of my children are at the age where most normal children start speaking, 3-4 years old, however, my kids take are not at that level and so special teachers come in and work with them. Therefore, those who are farther along in their speech training are looked at as "smarter." These "smarter" children are the ones who are included in activities and get special snacks. While the other ones who's progress are slower are excluded. There is one boy who has the capabilities to say words and repeats after the teachers after a few trials who is also probably the worst trouble maker in class. All he does is steal other kids toys and runs around and never sits in his seats, however, the teachers are more lenient on him I would say because of his speaking progress. Another child who cannot speak at all, but is obedient and never causes trouble gives the teacher headaches when he cannot repeat such words as water. therefore, there is a separation between the excluded and included children. The children who can speak are included more in activities and are the ones the teachers love the most while the ones who cannot speak are excluded and are treated less lovingly. This makes me think that although Sao Mai is an effective organization, that its goals and progress are based on their own personal satisfaction. Teachers become proud when their students do well in school, so when a student does not do well, it makes the teachers look bad as well. therefore, the ones in my classroom who can speak are included more because the teachers thinks that this is a good reflection on their work. The children who are excluded are the ones the teachers feel that they fail at being a student and cannot learn. However, in my opinion, a truly great teacher can take the worst student regardless of any circumstances and teach them well enough to become the best student. Therefore, the teachers in Sao Mai should not show favoritism and exclude the children who cannot talk but instead, include them and work with them even more than the other ones to make them all better.

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