I grew up in a house hearing many timeless expressions. These included idioms (i.e. “a penny for your thoughts,”) and other overused phrases. My parents, especially my mom, used popular phrases when talking about a number of things, including behavior or the choices people make.
These phrases became a part of my own vernacular as I grew up. Most of the time, these phrases seemed harmless; I understood the meaning and implications behind them (or so I thought I did). I knew they weren’t meant to offend anyone. But, there was also some truth behind these expressions.
The language (words and syntax) surrounding each topic (i.e. education, sports, politics etc.) shapes our thinking about various matters. The problem is, we don’t think about the words used in our conversations as much as we believe to.
We commonly use expressions that we hear our well-meaning parents. The words are seemingly harmless. We forget that these words and expressions have an origin. Some popular expressions are indeed harmless. But some carry more weight than we realize. Some of the expressions were first used by the people in power to describe a group of marginalized people, or to shame them.
This concept is true about students with learning disorders. Many ideas around modern education and schooling come from the 1900s, a time when learning disorders were not well researched. It wasn’t until the last quarter of the 20th century that disorders like dyslexia, ADHD, and autism were identified in people.
More information about learning disorders has been uncovered, leading to adaptations in helping struggling students. But there is still progress to be made in the way people talk about struggling students. The labels used to describe struggling students are especially problematic, fueling misunderstandings about these kids.
When people work with kids, they frequently label their behaviors (and indirectly the children) based on their efforts and achievements. Kids that are considered high achievers get described as “mature,” “driven,” “motivated,” “engaged,” “hard-working,” “caring,” “socially graceful,” etc. Alternatively, kids that aren’t high achievers get described as “unmotivated,” “immature,” “socially awkward,” “self-absorbed,” willful,” “lazy,” “stubborn,” “disengaged,” “rude,” etc. The thing is, the words you use to describe kids stick with them for life.
It’s challenging to figure out what works for the kids who aren’t performing well. And sometimes, you just want the easy fix, for them to show what you know they’re capable of. Most of these students crave success as much as their classmates. Yet, certain skills (social, emotional regulation, executive function, etc.) are not as developed for them.
But when students hear derogative terms used to describe them, they internalize the message. They begin to actually see themselves as rude, immature, and lazy, resulting in a self-fulfilling prophecy; sometimes this is due to shame, other times due to a need for attention. Even when these students learn the reasons for their issues, they still remember the negative statements said about them. And it’s hard for them to shake the feeling of shame off their shoulders.
We need to find other language to describe kids who aren’t high achievers. It may seem trite, but these words carry more weight than you realize. Our current vocabulary is full of blame. Why can’t they just work harder? Why are they so lazy? Why can’t they just become motivated? Would it kill them to even try? People believe these kids just need to exert more effort to get better results. And it’s believed holding them accountable using grades and punishments they will develop that maturity.
But if we use language that isn’t filled with blame, our narrative starts to shift. Listed below are some scenarios of what it looks like to shift your language:
- Francis is a 15-year-old student who doesn’t complete her assignments during class time. Instead, Francis doodles on her papers, stares at the white board, or stares mindlessly at her paper. It appears to the adults as if Francis is “lazy.”
- Francis might feel “overwhelmed” by the amount of work or the questions on the assignment.
- Francis might not understand how to do the work.
- Francis might lack time management skills
- John giggles or laughs when another person speaks to him. It appears as if he is immature.
- John might feel anxious when spoken to.
- John might need social guidance.
- Ginger is loud and talkative during class. She interrupts the lessons the teacher is delivering frequently.
- Ginger might be bored.
- Ginger might need something to fidget with.
The new narrative that is created is one of a student needing help learning something. Additionally, when you reframe the narrative, you can change your approach to talking to kids. Asking questions about any challenges the student is facing becomes more logical. This entire process creates a completely different dynamic in our relationships with our kids. They will feel safer coming to us to share their problems.
So, what’s the moral of this blog post? The vocabulary we use, actually frames our perspective. In regards to learning disorders, current vocabulary used to describe a student’s struggles can actually bring more harm than good. Words like “lazy,” “immature,” and “socially awkward” blame the student for their problems.
In contrast, stories like “lacks conversational skills,” or “struggles with organization” reframe problems such that the kid needs help. We need to turn the language into words of struggles or potential learning curves rather than blame. Adults become of better service to the kids when they assume the students need help learning something. The payoff is an adult life well lived by our kids.
56 thoughts on “Our Vocabulary is Harming Students with Learning Disorders”
I reckon something genuinely special in this internet site. Cristine Ase Seessel
Breaks my heart! One should assume everything he says is a lie and go on from there. Kevina Edmund Hurley
First of all I would like to say superb blog!
I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your head prior to writing.
I have had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out.
I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes
tend to be lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin.
Any suggestions or tips? Many thanks!
First of all, thanks for reading my blog post. I’m glad you liked reading it.
As far as centering myself, I actually follow the same process you do. I write whatever comes to mind about a topic for about 15 minutes. Then I go back and edit it. Sometimes my initial ideas are connected, and sometimes they’re not. And sometimes it takes me a couple days to develop more clarity or ideas about a topic. I usually do a few edits before I post them. Just keep writing, even if it seems random. And then go back and edit. I hope that helps.
When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I
get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you
can remove people from that service? Thanks!
I will try to find a way to remove you from getting notifications for all comments.
You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but
I find this matter to be actually something which I think I would never understand.
It seems too complex and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post,
I will try to get the hang of it!
my webpage; CBD for dogs
In the past, these types of services have been used largely by thrifty tourists looking for the cheapest place they can find in a particular city. Now, however, more and more business travelers and professionals are looking to WP Rentals for a unique and memorable experience. Karoly Flemming Esmaria
I have some boyscout flags. I also have a silver beaver along with the newspaper write up and the certificate to the fella. Let me know if your interested. Thanks, Lori Lilith Raviv Bax
I would like to show my passion for your kind-heartedness for women who need assistance with this important matter. Your very own commitment to passing the solution all through came to be rather powerful and has truly helped guys and women like me to achieve their ambitions. The warm and friendly help and advice indicates a whole lot to me and extremely more to my mates. Thanks a lot; from each one of us. Fidelity Baily Clarette
Major thankies for the blog. Much thanks again. Really Great. Teresina Cart Gertrud
You are so generous and awesome, Alena. I miss you and painting with you. Will keep this post bookmarked for the future. xoxo Annecorinne Gamaliel Clarkin
I saw your blog shared in a cool Facebook community my friend has. thanks. Easter Clare Roseann
constantly i used to read smaller articles or reviews that also
clear their motive, and that is also happening
with this paragraph which I am reading at this time.
area 52 delta 8 THC products – area 52 delta 8 THC products
area 52 delta 8 THC products – delta 8 THC for sale area 52
delta 8 area 52 – delta 8 THC area 52
Area 52 delta 8 carts – delta 8 THC for sale area 52
delta 8 THC for sale area 52 – delta 8 area 52
It’s difficult to find knowledgeable people in this particular
topic, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about!
It’s going to be end of mine day, however before ending I am reading this great post to improve my knowledge.
delta 8 carts Area 52 – delta 8 carts Area 52
delta 8 carts Area 52 – buy delta 8 THC area 52
Area 52 Delta 8 THC – delta 8 area 52
delta 8 carts Area 52 – delta 8 THC for sale area 52
delta 8 THC area 52 – delta 8 area 52
Hire Expert Freelancer According To Your Needs.
I’m Mahmud Ghazni From Bangladesh. I’m a Professional IT Freelancer. First of all, I apologize for making such a comment on your site. You may think this is spamming but I am only doing this for the purpose of attracting the attention of clients.
I’m able to make this comment on your website which means your website may be brand new or not yet properly configured. That means you may need a professional help. And if that happens then, I’m here to help you. I’m a Porfessional Web Design & Developer. For the past 3 years I have been providing services to various IT company in our country. Due to the current Covid pandemic situation and the impact of the lockdown, many companies have closed down. That’s why I’m currently offering freelance services to international clients. Since I am a new Freelancer in the online marketplace, That’s why I’m trying to reach clients in various ways.
You can hire me from here: https://ghazni.me
I’ve a lot of experience with WordPress such as WordPress Theme Customization, Landing Page Design, Fixing 500 & & 404 Errors, Website Migration, SEO Optimization, Malware Removal, BulletProof Web Security, Fixing other WordPress issue etc.
If you need any kind of help, Feel free to contact with me. I’m always ready to help you. Hopefully, I will be able to gain your trust and satisfaction.
It’s enormous that you are getting thoughts from this article as well as from
our discussion made at this place.
If you are going for best contents like me, simply go to see
this web site everyday for the reason that it gives
quality contents, thanks
Visit my web blog – delta 8 gummies buy online
I have read several good stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for
revisiting. I wonder how much attempt you place to make this sort of magnificent
Visit my website – cbd gummies for pain
Having read this I thought it was extremely enlightening.
I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this short
article together. I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and posting
comments. But so what, it was still worth it!
my blog post: buy weed
What’s up it’s me, I am also visiting this website regularly, this web page is in fact pleasant and the users are genuinely sharing fastidious thoughts.
Feel free to surf to my website; cbd for sale
certainly like your web-site but you have to take a look
at the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I to find it very troublesome to inform the truth on the other hand I’ll
definitely come again again.
Review my homepage: sleeping pills amazon
Hello there! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some
targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good success.
If you know of any please share. Many thanks!
My website; best kratom (Junko)
It’s very trouble-free to find out any matter
on web as compared to books, as I found this article at this site.
my blog … best kratom
Wow, great post.Really thank you! Great.
Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before
but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
Anyhow, I’m definitely delighted I found it
and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back frequently!
Glad to hear you enjoy my content! Thanks for your support!
I have been surfing on-line greater than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
It’s pretty value sufficient for me. Personally, if all
site owners and bloggers made just right content material as you probably did, the internet will
be a lot more useful than ever before.
Look at my website – best cbd capsules for pain,
Hi my friend! I want to say that this post is amazing,
nice written and include approximately all significant infos.
I would like to see more posts like this .
my webpage … heraldnet
Thanks for your feedback! I’m glad you enjoyed it!
[url=http://viagraemd.com/]price of 50mg viagra[/url]
Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am
inspired! Extremely helpful info particularly the
last section 🙂 I maintain such info a lot.
I used to be seeking this particular info for a very long time.
Thanks and best of luck.
My webpage strong 1. green maeng da 2. red jawi
3. white vein 4. green malay, Dina,
instagram takipçi satın al kurumsal
Howdy would you mind letting me know which hosting company you’re
using? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different web browsers and
I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then most.
Can you recommend a good internet hosting provider at a reasonable
price? Kudos, I appreciate it!
my page: bellevue reporter
I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself
or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz respond
as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to find out where u got
this from. many thanks
My blog: amount of thc in cbd gummies
I have been exploring for a bit for any high quality articles or weblog posts on this
kind of house . Exploring in Yahoo I finally stumbled upon this
web site. Reading this information So i’m satisfied
to convey that I have an incredibly just right uncanny feeling I found out just what I needed.
I so much for sure will make certain to do not omit this site and provides it a glance on a relentless basis.
Also visit my web site – cbd 300mg gummies? reddit (royalcbd.com)
I could not resist commenting. Well written!
my webpage – hemp bombs cbd gummies melatonin review
It’s really a great and helpful piece of info. I am glad that you simply shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.
I need to to thank you for this excellent read!! I certainly enjoyed every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked to look at new things you postÖ
Hello. This post was really fascinating, especially since I was investigating for thoughts on this matter last Sunday. Claresta Wyatan Cybil
You made some good points there. I looked on the web for more information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this site.
It’s going to be ending of mine day, but before finish I am
reading this wonderful article to improve my knowledge.
Hello my loved one! I want to say that this article is amazing, nice written and include approximately all vital infos. I’d like to look extra posts like this .|
Hey! This post could not be written any better!
Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate!
He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this article to him.
Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!
Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article.
I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more
of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely return.
Hello! I realize this is sort of off-topic but I had to ask.
Does running a well-established website such as yours require a lot of work?
I am completely new to operating a blog however I do
write in my journal daily. I’d like to start
a blog so I will be able to share my experience
and feelings online. Please let me know if you have any
ideas or tips for new aspiring bloggers. Appreciate it!
I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your web site. Do you ever run into any
web browser compatibility issues? A couple of my
blog visitors have complained about my website not working correctly
in Explorer but looks great in Firefox. Do you have any advice to
help fix this issue?
An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who has been conducting a little research on this. And he actually ordered me lunch simply because I found it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to talk about this matter here on your web page.
Spot on with this write-up, I truly believe this amazing site needs much more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read through more, thanks for the info.