Mossy Brains Can Be Beautiful

At the tutoring centre where I spend two nights each week, this article about teaching disabilities is still posted on my door; I stuck it there about a year and a half ago.  I don’t direct students to it unless they’re in a position where I think it’s applicable, but most of the students read it anyway.  It tends to get read in groups, and there are waves of popularity (someone will get a kick out of it and make a point of showing it to everyone who walks in).  The article won’t come down until I think no one is getting anything from it anymore.

This month’s issue of Ode Magazine has this article on the necessities of having differences and variations within a category.

A very swift google of “learning disabilities” suggests that anywhere between 10% and 30% of the population have a learning disability.


So, if three out of ten people don’t have white skin, they have a skin disability?  If three out of ten people don’t like chocolate, they have a tasting disability? (Okay, maybe I’d have to concede that last one.)

I’d estimate that more than three quarters of the world cannot write anything that I’d be stimulated by reading.  D’ya all have writing disabilities?

I like Mr. Armstrong’s rainforest analogy; we’re mowing down brains as fast as we mow down trees.  We’re also claiming to be mowing in the name of progress… in both situations.

I don’t like mowing.  I don’t have a teaching disability; when a student comes to me, it’s my job to adjust to that student’s way of learning.  Why?  Because they’re paying me to teach them.  I’m not paying them to learn.  When I pay them, they’ll do it my way, I’m sure.  Until then, I may find the students weird, or wrong, but never disabled.

One response to “Mossy Brains Can Be Beautiful

  1. Sharon Goodier

    I agree. Unfortunately, most teachers aren’t willing to teach anyone who doesn’t fit into the academic mold unless they are given a reason, like a label, and along with it a list of suggestions for teaching, most of which they never follow because it’s virtually impossible to meet the needs of so-called LD students while trying to deliver a curriculum to the other two thirds of the class — and yes about a third of many classes are Resource students. My youngest son went through hell in high school once he was out of the special program in grade 9 and 10 which served him well, as did a very excellent teacher in an LD withdrawal class in grade 7 & 8. These are real difficulties that can be seen in functional MRI’s but as long as people don’t want to pay taxes, these kids will end up in jail instead of university.And irony of ironies, in jail they will have exactly what they need: small classes, good discipline, and a teacher dedicated to teaching extraordinary learners (which is the name I prefer to LD).


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