I remember how surprised and a little bit impressed the Guidance Head of my University was during our interview for the Peer Counselors Society – a club I wanted to join in college – when I was able to explain the importance of putting words on feelings. I said that “when we are able to identify feelings, we acknowledge and accept them for what they are. Thus leading to addressing it properly.”
I guess that got the nod of approval for me to be one of the few who became club members.
When I started working in the academe, working with young children proved how important it was for them to put a name on how and what they feel in order to help them process it. Last year, it became detrimental that a child acknowledges how he feels to help him resolve conflict among his peers and within himself. Sometimes it was easy, but during other times… it required more rationalizing.
For those who worked with different individuals, I think you know what I mean. The use of proper terms and correct labels can make or break the discussion.
But then labels, when attached to someone’s personality and not the behavior nor emotions, become factors of contention. Recently I’ve been hearing a number of concerns from my co-workers on how easily others would complain about the behavior of pupils in their class (just because they’ve self-diagnosed or heard that may have some special needs). It has become bothersome how quickly they put their hands up in surrender when a child misbehaves in the classroom, conveniently complaining that they can’t manage them in class because the kid won’t listen nor participate.
Take Rod for example. He’s a new student and has transferred from a small school of a population of 16 pupils in his class (from his previous school), to an estimated current class size of 35 pupils in a very big school. Add to that he is raised by his fraternal grandparents. His parents are not together. He sees his dad when he’s in town and has never seen his mother for a very long time. He’s an only child and spends most of his time with his grandparents. He’s not allowed to play computer during weekdays but is allowed to watch YouTube during weekends. During the few times I’ve observed him, he tends to put up walls when he gets scolded, or when his classmates keep on reminding him on how to behave. The same behavior has also been observed by his grandparents as they disclosed during one of our meetings whenever Rod gets reprimanded. He only eases up when he is approached in a more calm manner.
It’s only been 3 months since the start of the school year. And I believe he’s still in his period of adjustment. So many stimuli around him, accompanied with so many changes, and so many baggages he’s carrying in his little 6-year old shoulders. During the conference I had with his guardians. I suggested behavior modification (complete with contract signing and token-reward system) as initial intervention. I found no need for referral to an expert or a DevPed during this time yet. The grandparents were quite cooperative, and I was very optimistic. I updated and informed the persons involved of the plan. However, I was much surprised when a certain individual kept on egging me on that I was aware of Rod having special needs. Which, in turn, I explained again that I only saw his emotional need to be very high. No need to label his behavior of not listening to the teacher, and standing up during class hours as AD or whatsoever knowing that a number of teachers were able to manage him well during their own subject’s time.
Since when has effective classroom management been replaced by convenience just so the need for processing be circumvented? Shouldn’t it be a collaborative effort to help address the concern? Why is it suddenly convenient to put a label on pupils that they have special needs and should be diagnosed to address their behavior? On my own observation? Yes, they do have special needs. But not the kind that needs to be assessed by experts. The special need that I am talking about pertains to their need to be understood. To understand the individual contexts each child is coming from.
I guess that’s the challenge now. To know when to use the proper labels, and when labels are proper… and necessary.
Posted on September 9, 2014, in A Blog A Day/Week, A Wandering Mind, Work and more Work, [Life] Lessons Remembered and tagged labels, postaday, postaday2014, postaweek, postaweek2014, psychobabbles, work. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.