The Unique Language of a Child with Learning Difficulties

I was almost brought to tears in front of a class of 10-year-old students recently. While I was teaching a class, a boy with “learning difficulties” (a term Barbara Arrowsmith-Young prefers over “disabilities” ) had an emotional meltdown. Two of his classmates were having a play-fight as they made their way into class after lunch, and he became agitated and ready to cry because he couldn’t understand why they were pretending to hurt each other. I tried to help him cope with the overflow of his emotions, but I also had 25 other kids in the class to look after and I couldn’t leave the room to help him find a quiet place outside to calm down.

The Hidden Role of Teachers of Young Learners

I am going to say something drastic: Of all teachers, those that teach young learners are, by far, the most important. They have the potential to save the world.
This is not a statement I came up with. It came from some economists who produced a National Public Radio Planet Money podcast with the title: Why Preschool Can Save the World. Economists? Preschool? Save the World? Trust me, it all connects.

A Scientific Approach to Early Language Learning

My daughter read her first word on her third birthday. My family was amazed. We thought we had a true genius on our hands. But when I visited her Montessori preschool, I discovered the truth—in Montessori school, they explicitly teach you how to read as soon as you’re interested in it. Not to say that my daughter isn’t a genius (she’s amazing), but she was not the only 3-year-old in her class who was happily sounding out words. How could that even be possible?