Friday, June 22, 2012

Update from an earlier post...

Re this post.

I haven't said anything yet. I'm going in to meet with someone from the school executive next week to discuss nominating the school for an award for an innovative program they have been doing. So I thought while I was buttering them up about the good things they do, I might be able to slip in a couple of innocent questions about Fast ForWord while I was there.

But I think the horse may have already bolted. Yesterday's school newsletter had an update on how the Fast ForWord fundraising was going. They made a couple of thousand dollars at the school disco last week. We didn't send our kids to that because we were having a busy week last week. (And our kids won't dance when they do go so I'm a bit over taking them down there when I know that all I'll be doing is watching them roam around the school hall and fending off requests to buy junk food for them).

The little item about the fundraising also mentioned that the school has now received a rather substantial donation from the local bowls club to put towards purchasing the program.

Now that has happened, I doubt they can suddenly change plans and use the money for something else. I was going to suss out whether they might consider contracting a sessional speech pathologist to come in and work with some of the kids whose parents couldn't afford (or just wouldn't) take them to see anyone.

Frustrating. I thought Simone's comment the other day was pretty much spot on. Because the school is doing lots of good things and computer programs are working well to improve numeracy and literacy in the school, it's easy to think in terms of that kind of solution for all the kids with difficulties as well. One size fits all. Lots of online testimonies and health professionals (dodgy ones) singing its praises. Costs lots of money, so the assumption is that it must be fantastic.

But I just don't think there's any quick fix or miraculous computer program that's going to be able to cure all those learning difficulties out there. Especially when parental support is minimal for a lot of these kids anyway. Even providing therapy in a school setting is a bit pointless if there's no follow up at home. But at least the program can be individualised, and teachers supported with ideas that might be able to be implemented within the conventional curriculum.

1 comment:

Deb said...

Yeah, I see your point about the horse having bolted. I wonder how the school is going to identify the kids who will use the program. Best practice would no doubt be a some kind of external learning assessment by a professional. Big bucks for a family. But the worry is that kids with a completely different problem to the ones being targeted by Fast ForWord will spend hours working on the program to no effect. Meanwhile, they'll be missing teaching time in their year level classroom and falling further behind. If the possible outcomes of the program were only neutral it wouldn't be so bad. But the fact that it is so time-intensive means it's imperative that it only be used for kids it is actually going to help. Otherwise, kids who are already struggling will be even further behind the 8-ball. But I'm preaching to the choir here, aren't I?