Above we see the workings of a child on the ‘spectrum’. Oh how we love to readily put everyone into their little box to explain the way they are or what difficulties they may be having. I would look at this and say “ Genius,” after all, Einstein as a child in primary school was largely seen as unteachable, ‘a dreamer’ who spent most of his time looking out the window. If this is on the spectrum, then what a wonderful spectrum that must be.
If the test above was given as a part of the state’s standardised test like Naplan, it would, most likely be marked as wrong yet the student has carried out the directives to an exacting degree. If in education our role as teachers and parents is to help the child unfold their inner being and to respect and develop their individual human spirit then we really need to question some of the practices we see in education.
Standardised testing has its place however it is not the measure of a child’s true intelligence or personality, character, creativity, self- discipline, leadership, courage, sense of beauty, humility, self-awareness, persistence, motivation, reliability, spontaneity, resilience, humour, curiosity, endurance enthusiasm and so on and on.
Our role as educators must always focus on the talents and attributes of the child so that we can focus our help and guidance on the areas most challenging for the child without overlooking the already well establishing gifts that the child may have.
We need to ask, “ Is what I want for the child in the best interests of the child or is it in my best interest how I want the child to turn out.”
Too often what we want for our children is not in their best interest and therefor difficulties will arise in the pursuit of these goals. If a student is motivated in a direction that interests them and they understand why they are heading in a particular direction, then there is no holding them back, however if the direction is unclear and they have little interest in the topic then it will be an uphill battle to engage them in their learning.
Steiner education is based on a firm understanding of child development, physically, emotionally and intellectually, bring to the students lesson content that is directly balanced with these developmental stages.
“Intelligence is often used as a measure of a child’s maturity and as a result we parents may assume that an intelligent child is ready for the world. This is not so as just because giftedness is present in one aspect of the child’s life, don’t assume it pervades all areas. There is no magic age of responsibility.” (Parenting,7 Ways.)
If our education is to effectively enable the freedom of the human spirit, then we must work in such a way that the individual talents and abilities are fostered and encouraged and that our children are not burdened by labels which they may carry into their prosperous futures.
The expectations of parents and teachers can have a direct result on the stress and anxiety of the student, hindering them in the pursuit of their goals and ambitions, which is totally contrary to the intentions of all.