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Journal 5: Difference and Diagnosis

Cathy's picture

I'm still thinking about the Ted talk we saw in class. The ideas of pit crew and diagnosis really resonated with me. There are so many applications! I think what stood out was the diagnosis bit where the same way doctors try to see if their patients had anything they knew how to treat, is kind of what teachers try to do by labeling. Sometimes these labels help them identify problems like “slow math learner” but other times these labels are used to blame a child’s ability on a medical condition like ADD. I guess if they can pinpoint that a condition is the cause of the failure then the teacher is no longer responsible. Or perhaps it just helps them target the difference and change it until its normal. This is also a way to get more resources to the student. I cannot remember the reading but in my Critical Issues class we read that diagnosing a student with a condition or disability or other learning problem is the best chance the student has to getting resources and aid allocated to them, otherwise there is not much that can be done. This is tragically sad, and a good place for a pit crew. With a pit crew, more resources can go to the student in need, and every student. Perhaps instead of trying to “diagnose” our students we should embrace their differences. Sure, sometimes their differences might make life more difficult for the teacher, but I’ve found that the best rewards are often a result of engaging with difference. We shouldn’t try to assimilate differences and absorb them; we should embrace them and learn.


alesnick's picture

A relevant book

about labeling and special education is Denny Taylor's book, Learning Denied.

emmagulley's picture

I think that what you're

I think that what you're saying about the need for a label/diagnosis really resonates with me.  While I'm all for giving kids more support/access to support, and while I understand that doing this within the current system involves "labeling" students with a "disorder," sometimes I also hesitate when thinking about this.  If we put a label on a child, it gets hard for them to take off that label should they want to, when the time comes.  Also, what about any psychological/emotional/developmental affects that should occur if a child knows his/her label is "not ideal"?  Is there a way we can support students before funneling them into this "separate" system of "labels and loopholes" within the current system?  

pamela gassman's picture

the Pit Crew

I think the idea of having a pit crew for every student is a great hope, however, I wonder how this could be practically and effectively applied in our schools? Additionally, I think that if a pit crew were to be implemented in schools, they would need a very well developed set of guidelines, perhaps a checklist. Also, how would a school create these groups? What if a student hates a teacher or vice versa, would they be subject to change? I think the idea of a personal team for every student is a great goal, however, it brings up many questions in my mind as of how it would form. Yet, while we may not be able to have pit crews for students, I believe a more plausible solution may be found in the support system provided by the school for students to access.