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 Deforming experience 
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I was reading the Parker Palmer article and he says that American education can be so harmful that rather than form us, it deforms us.

I just spoke to someone the other day who is a college senior. She said that it is amazing she is graduating, given her experience in K-12 public school. She felt her low self confidence and definition of herself as "not bright" was related to always being in programs in public schools that sorted her into the "low" group. She remembers teachers talking about her lack of ability. Imagine hearing this year after year. Imagine her parents hearing this year after year. The whole family comes to doubt that the child can make it, and it is mirrored to the child.

I would say this experience is a "deforming" experience.

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Rebekah Smith


Wed Apr 14, 2004 12:14 pm
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this is such a sad story...i hope your friend realizes how proud of herself she should be. she has truly accomplished something that so many people told her that she shouldn't be able to do. it is so sad to hear that things like this happen but i am definitely not one to think that many children do not feel this way going through our educational system. thankfully, we all can make a difference. even one year with a teacher who constantly reminds their students that each and every one of them can achieve, that each and every one of them is capable is a message that could last a lifetime. we have an important job ahead of us:!:


Wed Apr 14, 2004 12:19 pm
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I too have seen students pidgeonholed into "underachievers" and I think that it is our job as teachers to go out of our way to let each child know that no matter what their status they can achieve great things. As I have mentioned previously on the board I feel that it is possible to place children in groups without making it blatantly obvious what level those groups are and alienating the students in them, but the teacher really has to be conscious of it.

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Tobey Mitchell


Tue May 04, 2004 3:37 pm
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