As a child were you ever thrown into a pool before you knew how to swim? The theory being that your ‘instinct’ would kick in and you’d just ‘figure it all out’.
It usually ended in one of three ways:
1. You splashed around spluttering until you reached an edge and your parents enrolled you in swim lessons to ultimately learn.
2. You splashed and spluttered until someone hauled you out and it took even more lessons to learn because you were nervous around water at that point.
3. You splashed, spluttered and floundered, got hauled in and no amount of coaxing would get you near the water again.
Sometimes I wonder if when our children reach a certain point in school the education process becomes sort of a figurative ‘pitch them into the water’ scenario.
Whether it is a core subject or electives, it feels as if it has become acceptable to just throw them in and see whether they bob up again.
And I don’t wholly disagree because some people wouldn’t ever try without that throw, but when we look at the possible endings, the first two endings require significant teaching and lessons before the person thrown in can learn how to properly navigate the water. The third results in almost a breaking of the spirit.
Each child reacts differently.
Are our childrens’ teachers prepared to try and reinstill the trust they lost by pitching the kids overboard, or is it a weeding out process?
Are they just pointing out the deficiencies or are they providing valuable coaching the kids can learn from? and giving them ample time to practice and master the topic at hand?
It’s one thing to say ‘you aren’t getting it’ or ‘it’s not good enough’. But if we leave it at that and don’t provide guidance on how to ‘get it’ or how to ‘do better’, are we really doing any good?
Will they ever learn to swim? Or will they be scared to put a toe in the water because they were only scolded and no-one ever gave them the proper instruction?
As a parent I can cheerlead and coach all I want, but ultimately it comes down to the tools and lessons provided. Getting a new ‘swim coach’ isn’t always an option…