Solutions for Smart but Struggling Students

Session 7: What Happens When You Scrap Everything and Try a New Approach?

Melanie Hayes, Ed.D.
Running time: 30:41

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  1. Reinet on October 10, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    Thank you for a wonderful talk. It just confirms once again I am on the right track with my Aspie/2E school. We see them come alive when we focus on thier deep interests(love that termanogy) you helped me not feel guilty when we ditch the system. I love the circular learning too. They grow so amazingly in thier own ways, you have given me permission to keep seeking thier interests and strengths. All I can say is 2e schools alumni is going to be awesome!

    • Lauren on October 10, 2019 at 9:52 pm

      That is so great when the experts confirm what is in our gut anyway! The 2e alumni group is definitely a crowd that is going to change the world!
      -Lauren with the Bright & Quirky Team

  2. Sabrina on October 10, 2019 at 11:51 am

    I could listen to Melanie talk for hours! My 2e daughter told me she feels more comfortable socializing online, and I’m slowly allowing her more screen time. It’s good to hear you say that the rules have changed around that. She loves elephants, but feels she already knows all about them, so she is finding other ways to incorporate her interest, such as raising elephants in ‘Adopt Me’ in Roblox. She just dedicated most of her screen time over the past few days to earning a neon elephant, even though she also likes to use some of her screen time to watch YouTube videos. Just goes to show what they’re capable of and motivated to do when it’s an area of interest.

    A Mom at the micro-school my daughter goes to recently said to me it’s not about the academics, that they are learning valuable social-emotional skills at the school and it’s so true. I think she’s actually passing my husband and I in her emotional maturity 🙂 That Mom and I go for coffee once a week now and it’s been so invaluable to talk to her for just that 1 hour a week. Since my daughter’s school is part-time, I’m still having her read American history, world history, and social studies books, but as we introduce Outschool, where my daughter gets to pick the courses, I think I will phase the books out and not force the ‘well roundedness’. Thank you Debbie and Melanie for reinforcing that point!

    • Lauren on October 10, 2019 at 9:55 pm

      Agreed! Sometimes the social-emotional learning prepares our kids more for life than the academics. So glad you can see what your daughter needs and give her more of that.
      -Lauren with the Bright & Quirky Team

  3. Silmara on October 9, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    Oh these are such encouraging words by Dr Hayes at the end of her talk,tx,tx!
    Lovely to hear her say our kids don’t have to be well rounded on all the areas, and also the spiral learning. She mentions that kids who just play computer games without getting deeper into the hows could be traumatized. I would love to hear more about this. I suppose she means that if they are not traumatized by bad experiences in the teaching system one would see the natural curiosity surface, wanting to do more than just play a game. This is very interesting….. I wonder if it’s similar to underachievement seen in some traumatized 2e kids?
    Thanks for a wonderful talk!

  4. Jessica on October 9, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    I meant to say Quiet space not white space, my apologies this auto correct is faster than me when I type. So I rewrote it with the correct spelling as I couldn’t go back and edit.

  5. Jessica on October 9, 2019 at 6:27 pm

    Yes! I am a kindergarten teacher and teaching an inquiry based program includes all students. However, because they have 30 kids in a class, to find a quiet space which they all need, is so hard to create in one box classroom. We look at how the environment acts like a third teacher. However after kindergarten, we kg educators feel that all the inquiry, self regulation and critical thinking, self advocacy that we worked on for two years sometimes go wayside as students enter grade 1 and above.
    I and educators always say that for all of this to happen the education need to change how we report on students, if we are constantly told learning is a journey then why are educators are forced to give out grades especially to our primary and junior students. We need to change the education system and re educate educators through professional development to bring our students to the 21st century and have our education give us the tools to support. I even notice that my students in kindergarten will not do things until they see how it will help them in real life.

  6. 2eMe on October 9, 2019 at 10:45 am

    Dr Hayes talks about 2e individuals often bringing what seem like very disparate areas together in their deep interests, and having these interests cycle around, keep circling back in different ways at different times. In my family, we have always thought of this as best looked at in terms of an “aesthetic.” The areas seem disparate only if you are considering them at a surface level. These may be better characterized, at a more abstract level, as a unified (evolving, complex) aesthetic of what is meaningful and deeply pleasing for this individual to think about and experience. These interests are derogated by people who think of this just as “he likes dinosaurs,” or whatever. I’d prefer not to describe our family’s various “aesthetics” at this time, so I hope this is clear to some without examples. Speaking to other neuro-atypical folks out there: Does this resonate? How would you describe your aesthetic? What is at the core of all your deep interests? (Sorry, “interests” is a rather impoverished term for this, but I’m tired of “passions.”) Thanks for a great talk! Dr. Hayes is our favorite presenter. We just wish her school were in our area. 🙂 Also, a suggestion/request/question for all: Most presenters are talking about younger children, it seems. I can picture possibly getting an elementary or even middle school to consider allowing a student to place out, or have great latitude to demonstrate mastery in such a range of ways, but what suggestions do folks have for the high-school level, when the quite rigid and detailed formal requirements of IB, AP, SOLs, etc., lead the teachers and administrators to feel they are in a straitjacket of very specific requirements at every turn. Yes, IB potentially has creative projects (if they are not minimized by the schools), but every tiny piece and step of every course in high school seems to be circumscribed, so the freedom to even avail oneself of the creative possibilities is taken away for students who have deep ideas and need to be able to spend time pursuing the complexity of those, who can’t spin from one task to another under constant, unrelenting time pressure. How would your experts, and other families, approach these concerns, without exiting the school system? Thanks so much. (This is my first post anywhere ever.)

    • Lauren on October 10, 2019 at 11:50 am

      Thanks for finding B&Q a first post-worthy opportunity! Dr. Hayes learning spiral idea completely resonated with me and what I see in our neurodiverse family. I love the connection you made to that with the idea of aesthetic. Your question about what families do with kids at the high school level is a great one. As a coach in the B&Q IdeaLab (and as a parent to two teens myself), the answer is a very personal to our child, their strengths, their future goals, and opportunities we have within our reach/community. For some families, they stay on the mainstream AP or IB path; others may construct something more fitting to their child. I am seeing more and more “hybrid” approaches to high school where perhaps some core classes are taken through the public high school, but other areas are pursued outside, either online or through groups in the community. In the B&Q IdeaLab, we talk about it through the lens of being a self-scientist and running experiments to see what works best for our child and their beautiful and uniquely wired brain!
      -Lauren with the Bright & Quirky Team

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