Tuesday, February 26

haven't met any Brams lately

Driving home tonight CBC radio had a little treat waiting for me. They played the original 'Banana Phone' song by Raffi. Yes, Mr. Baby Beluga himself. My family actually still decorates our Christmas tree (which also hasn't changed much in 15 years) to his holiday album. I decided to google him and discovered that he was born in Egypt! I always just assumed he was....Caucasian. His 'down by the bay' song is so ubiquitous now I hadn't realized he actually invented it and was shocked when having to actually teach it to a friend from another country (Bermuda, it isn't that far away--their new slogan, maybe?). She caught on though. If you haven't listened to him in a while I suggest that maybe you take some time to do so, and really listen to the lyrics. Try playing them backwards.

Kind of speaking of children I was stuck in a small place for a few hours with someone who happens to be a teacher. This person informed me that, although teaching is still what they have always wanted to and want to do, it has become even more challenging due to some not so new policies by the Ontario government (and possibly some trends in society). Pair up classroom integration of students with learning troubles and the recent chain gang of new 'hip' diagnoses ("all the kids just have to have one!") and you get classes in elementary school with over half the students labeled for high needs. These are not only students with mild learning disabilities but autism, ADHD, Down syndrome (I believe, but I'll double check this one), etc. How can a teacher possibly be giving each of the high needs students enough attention while ensuring that the 'normal' children aren't disadvantaged.

Please don't misunderstand me: there are definite benefits for everyone when children aren't segregated from their peers at all times for being different. Socialization can be just as or more important than book learnin' however this stinks like fund cutting and unwillingness to pay for the proper support these students need. Now this is way up north and so far just one experience but I have a feeling it is more widespread. The integration policies didn't really begin until the late 80s (I'll get a better number hopefully) so the reason we didn't (or at least I didn't) see this in my own classes growing up is because it has been happening gradually. I could probably continue but I might also be talking out of my rear-end a bit and will try to uncover a bit more definitive information. The end.

No comments: