STOP SCHOOL FAILURE by Louise Bates; Clyde Gillespie & John W. Streff Ames


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Another Gesell Institute product (the last, Is Your Child in the Wrong Grade?, 1970, is a companion) which provides a clear prospectus for understanding and coping with the youngster who's failing or performing poorly in school. Addressing primarily a parent and lay reader audience, Ames and her colleagues advise looking to the child, not the school system or teachers, for failure causality -- ""the answer more often than not lies in the organism."" Easy enough to do unless you're Archie Bunker, but how to diagnose the child? What actually causes failure? Clinical evidence based on application of Gesell child development principles suggests that children most often flunk when placed in an educational environment beyond their level of physical maturity (this of course conforms to Dr. Gesell's dictum that ""Behavior is a function of structure""); other reasons include visual and perceptual impairments, highly atypical personalities, and emotional disturbances. Extrapolating from these findings, the authors recommend that parents not be reluctant to let the child repeat a grade, not worry about slow maturation (""the immature child will catch up, given time""), carefully monitor his visual development, etc. They also discuss ways in which schools might reduce the possibility of failure -- for instance, establishing a ""bookless curriculum"" and promoting on the basis of behavioral rather than chronological age. Aside from the caveat that Gesell child psychology is controversial and our suspicion that there might not be enough seats for all the 40 year-old third graders among us, this gets high marks as practicum.

Pub Date: May 10th, 1972
Publisher: Harper & Row