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A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life

Why Most Teachers Fail With Problematic Students

Teachers are generally clueless about teaching problematic students and for good reason: it's not their job! Most learning problems derive from inadequate early parenting which affects the development of those basic ego capacities which govern control of behavior, development of a sense of self, mood modulation, and others. Limitations in these are exacerbated by parents who didn't read to and then with their toddlers, who bossed them around rather than explaining "why" which depresses the development of the capacity for abstract thinking, and who didn't foster individual development and demand civil behavior. All else is window dressing, like the computer technology which is expected to alleviate these early life failings but can't. Thus do teachers take the rap for being unable to "re-parent," which is basically not their job and a vastly complicated business too.

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Should America Adopt China's Way of Education?

The (September 9-10, 2017) Wall Street Journal's article, "Why American Students Need Chinese #Schools," makes several points: that, in China, the teacher rules supreme over the parent, and that effort and drill are considered the educational pathway to success. There, teachers engage in behavior which would cause their arrest for child abuse in America. Yet,  Read More 
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Diagnosing Bullying

Though all agree that bullying is bad, its complexity and that of the victim are often downplayed. In fact, bullies may primarily be sadistic, depressed, or anxious; and victims may primarily be submissive, provocative, or masochistic. Varying teacher and family dynamics exist for each, ranging from fear and helplessness, to parents who gain vicarious  Read More 
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How a New Teacher Tamed His Class or “George is humping Valerie’s doll!”

I recently heard this story from a relative. A twenty-two-year-old began teaching Earth Science in one of New York City’s most difficult schools. As the class began, fifteen-year-old George tore the clothes off his classmate’s doll and pretended to have sex with it. The class screamed, “Look, George is humping Valerie’s  Read More 
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The Similarity Between Dying Schools and Dying Businesses

As a psychologist, I've long found that parents complain most about schools. They are, as institutions, hermetically sealed, uninterested in any opinion that doesn't agree with their own and, when their efforts with troubled children fail (as almost always happens), the parents become termed expert and the school demands that they resolve their child's  Read More 
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Teachers' Responsibility For Students' Academic Success

The problem with holding ‪teachers‬ largely responsible for their ‪student‬s' learning is that many learning difficulties derive from emotional and family issues that are uncontrolled by the teacher. Teachers teach--with greater or lesser knowledge and creativity--and can be a catalyst for a child's learning but they do not control most elements of a  Read More 
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The Cheapest, Most Effective Pre-School Education

While no one can dispute the value of most education, the cheapest and most effective early intervention “program” would be for parents to read to their children from 2 years of age onward, and to speak with rather than to them (as by explaining why something should be done rather than merely saying, “do it  Read More 
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